(especially in city planning) of or relating to the division of an area into zones, as to restrict the number and types of buildings and their uses: zoning laws.

Origin of zoning

First recorded in 1810–20; zone + -ing2




any continuous area that differs in some respect, or is distinguished for some purpose, from adjoining areas, or within which certain distinctive circumstances exist or are established: The decisions were formulated in a zone of uncertainty. The temperature lies outside the danger zone.
Geography. any of five great divisions of the earth's surface, bounded by lines parallel to the equator and named according to the prevailing temperature.Compare North Frigid Zone, North Temperate Zone, South Frigid Zone, South Temperate Zone, Torrid Zone.
Biogeography. an area characterized by a particular set of organisms, whose presence is determined by environmental conditions, as an altitudinal belt on a mountain.
Geology. a horizon.
Geometry. a part of the surface of a sphere included between two parallel planes.
a specific district, area, etc., within which a uniform charge is made for transportation, mail delivery, or other service.
the total number of available railroad terminals within a given circumference around a given shipping center.
an area or district in a city or town under special restrictions as to the type, size, purpose, etc., of existing or proposed buildings.
Also called postal delivery zone. (in the U.S. postal system) any of the numbered districts into which a city or metropolitan area was formerly divided for expediting the sorting and delivery of mail.
Sports. a particular portion of a playing area: The wing was trapped with the puck in his own defensive zone.
the zone, Informal. a state of intense concentration and focus that greatly improves a person's performance in a physical or mental activity, especially in sports: He has a great golf swing, but he needs to be in the zone.
Archaic. a girdle or belt; cincture.

verb (used with object), zoned, zon·ing.

to mark with zones or bands.
to divide into zones, tracts, areas, etc., as according to existing characteristics or as distinguished for some purpose.
to divide (a city, town, neighborhood, etc.) into areas subject to special restrictions on any existing or proposed buildings.
to encircle or surround with a zone, girdle, belt, or the like.

verb (used without object), zoned, zon·ing.

to be formed into zones.

Verb Phrases

zone out, Informal. to become inattentive or dazed: I must have zoned out toward the end of the lecture.

Origin of zone

1490–1500; < Latin zōna < Greek zṓnē belt
Related formszone·less, adjectivein·ter·zone, nounmis·zone, verb, mis·zoned, mis·zon·ing.un·zone, verb (used with object), un·zoned, un·zon·ing.

Synonyms for zone

1. region. 17. gird, band.

Synonym study

1. See belt.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for zoning

marking, bordering, zoning, bounding, girdling, configurating

Examples from the Web for zoning

Contemporary Examples of zoning

Historical Examples of zoning

British Dictionary definitions for zoning



a region, area, or section characterized by some distinctive feature or quality
a sphere of thought, disagreement, argument, etc
an area subject to a particular political, military, or government function, use, or jurisdictiona demilitarized zone
(often capital) geography one of the divisions of the earth's surface, esp divided into latitudinal belts according to temperatureSee Torrid Zone, Frigid Zone, Temperate Zone
geology a distinctive layer or region of rock, characterized by particular fossils (zone fossils), metamorphism, structural deformity, etc
ecology an area, esp a belt of land, having a particular flora and fauna determined by the prevailing environmental conditions
maths a portion of a sphere between two parallel planes intersecting the sphere
  1. a mental state that enables a competitor to perform to the best of his or her abilityHingis is in the zone at the moment
  2. (modifier)of or relating to competitive performance that depends on the mood or state of mind of the participanta zone player
archaic, or literary a girdle or belt
NZ a section on a transport route; fare stage
NZ a catchment area for pupils for a specific school
in the zone See zone (def. 8)

verb (tr)

to divide into zones, as for different use, jurisdiction, activities, etc
to designate as a zone
to mark with or divide into zones
NZ to establish (an area) as a zone for a specific school
Derived Formszoning, noun

Word Origin for zone

C15: from Latin zōna girdle, climatic zone, from Greek zōnē
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 zoning



late 14c., from Latin zona "geographical belt, celestial zone," from Greek zone "a belt," related to zonnynai "to gird," from PIE root *yes- "to gird, girdle" (cf. Avestan yasta- "girt," Lithuanian juosiu "to gird," Old Church Slavonic po-jasu "girdle").

Originally one of the five great divisions of the earth's surface (torrid, temperate, frigid; separated by tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and Arctic and Antarctic circles); meaning "any discrete region" is first recorded 1822. Zone defense in team sports is recorded from 1927. Zoning "land-use planning" is recorded from 1912. Zoned (adj.) in drug-use sense is attested 1960s, from ozone, which is found high in the atmosphere; the related verb to zone is from 1980s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

zoning in Medicine




An unexpectedly strong immunologic reaction in a small amount of serum, probably the result of high antibody titer.




An area or a region distinguished from adjacent parts by a distinctive feature or characteristic.
A segment.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

zoning in Science



Any of the five regions of the surface of the Earth that are loosely divided according to prevailing climate and latitude, including the Torrid Zone, the North and South Temperate zones, and the North and South Frigid zones.
Ecology An area characterized by distinct physical conditions and populated by communities of certain kinds of organisms.
Mathematics A portion of a sphere bounded by the intersections of two parallel planes with the sphere.
Anatomy An area or a region distinguished from adjacent parts by a distinctive feature or characteristic.
Geology A region or stratum distinguished by composition or content.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

zoning in Culture


The establishment by local governments of districts that are restricted to various types of manufacturing, commercial, or residential use.

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.