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[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.
Also called benthic division, benthonic zone.
Origin of benthos
1890-95; < Greek bénthos depth (of the sea); akin to bathos, bathy- Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for benthos


the animals and plants living at the bottom of a sea or lake
the bottom of a sea or lake
Derived Forms
benthic, benthal, benthonic, adjective
Word Origin
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
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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
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benthos in Science
  1. The bottom of a sea or lake.

  2. 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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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