[ nek-ton, -tuh n ]
/ ˈnɛk tɒn, -tən /


the aggregate of actively swimming aquatic organisms in a body of water, able to move independently of water currents.

Nearby words

  1. nek,
  2. nekhbet,
  3. nekhebet,
  4. nekhebit,
  5. nekrasov,
  6. nelda,
  7. nell,
  8. nellie,
  9. nellis air force base,
  10. nellore

Origin of nekton

1890–95; < German, noun use of neuter of nēktós swimming (verbid of nḗchein to swim; see nectopod)

Related formsnek·ton·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nekton

British Dictionary definitions for nekton


/ (ˈnɛktɒn) /


the population of free-swimming animals that inhabits the middle depths of a sea or lakeCompare plankton
Derived Formsnektonic, adjective

Word Origin for nekton

C19: via German from Greek nēkton a swimming thing, from nēkhein to swim

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 nekton


1893, from German nekton (van Heusen, 1890), from Greek nekton, neuter of nektos "swimming," from nekhein "to swim" (see natatorium).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for nekton


[ nĕktən, -tŏn′ ]

The collection of marine and freshwater organisms that can swim freely and are generally independent of currents, ranging in size from microscopic organisms to whales. Compare benthos plankton.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.