[ ben-thos ]
/ ˈbɛn θɒs /


the biogeographic region that includes the bottom of a lake, sea, or ocean, and the littoral and supralittoral zones of the shore.

Origin of benthos

1890–95; < Greek bénthos depth (of the sea); akin to bathos, bathy-
Also called benthic division, benthonic zone. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for benthos



/ (ˈbɛnθɒs) /


the animals and plants living at the bottom of a sea or lake
the bottom of a sea or lake
Derived Formsbenthic, benthal or benthonic, adjective

Word Origin for benthos

C19: from Greek: depth; related to bathus deep
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for benthos



"life forms of the deep ocean and sea floor," 1891, coined by Haeckel from Greek benthos "depth of the sea," related to bathos "depth," bathys "deep," of unknown origin. Adjective benthic is attested from 1902.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for benthos


[ bĕnthŏs′ ]

The bottom of a sea or lake.
The organisms living on sea or lake bottoms. The benthos are divided into sessile organisms (those that are attached to the bottom or to objects on or near the bottom) and vagrant organisms (those that crawl or swim along the bottom). Compare nekton plankton. See more at epifauna infauna.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.