[ fahy-luhm ]

noun,plural phy·la [fahy-luh]. /ˈfaɪ lə/.
  1. Biology. the primary subdivision of a taxonomic kingdom, grouping together all classes of organisms that have the same body plan.

  2. Linguistics. a category consisting of language stocks that, because of cognates in vocabulary, are considered likely to be related by common origin.: Compare stock (def. 13).

Origin of phylum

1875–80; <New Latin <Greek phŷlon tribe, stock; see phylon

Other words from phylum

  • phylar, adjective

Words Nearby phylum Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use phylum in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for phylum


/ (ˈfaɪləm) /

nounplural -la (-lə)
  1. a major taxonomic division of living organisms that contain one or more classes. An example is the phylum Arthropoda (insects, crustaceans, arachnids, etc, and myriapods)

  2. any analogous group, such as a group of related language families or linguistic stocks

Origin of phylum

C19: New Latin, from Greek phulon race

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

Scientific definitions for phylum


[ ləm ]

Plural phyla
  1. A group of organisms ranking above a class and below a kingdom. See Table at taxonomy.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for phylum


[ (feye-luhm) ]

plur. phyla

One of the major divisions of the kingdoms of living things; the second-largest standard unit of biological classification. The arthropods, chordates, and mollusks are phyla. Phyla in the plant kingdom are frequently called divisions. (See Linnean classification.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.