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[zoo] /zu/
noun, plural zoos.
Also called zoological garden. a parklike area in which live animals are kept in cages or large enclosures for public exhibition.
Informal. a place, activity, or group marked by chaos or unrestrained behavior.
Origin of zoo
1840-50; first two syllables of zoological garden taken as one syllable Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for zoos


noun (pl) zoos
a place where live animals are kept, studied, bred, and exhibited to the public Formal term zoological garden
Word Origin
C19: shortened from zoological gardens (originally applied to those in London)
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 zoos



c.1847, short for Zoological Gardens of the London Zoological Society, established 1828 in Regent's Park to house the society's collection of wild animals. From comb. form of Greek zoion "an animal," literally "a living being," from PIE root *gwei- "to live, life" (cf. Greek bios "life," Old English cwicu "living;" see bio-). Slang meaning "crowded and chaotic place" first recorded 1935.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for zoos


adj,adj phr
  1. Intoxicated by narcotics or alcohol; high, stoned: zonked, one step past being stoned/ Either while I was still zonked out or in the shower (1960s+ Narcotics)
  2. Very enthusiastic; excited; high: Rene Carpenter remembers Gilruth as ''a kindly, wonderful man who was zonked on this project'' (1970s+)
  3. Exhausted; beat, pooped: After just an hour of that I was zonked (1972+)

[echoic of a heavy blow; a 1929 Bookman article on sound effects is entitled ''Socko, Whamo, and Sonk!'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for zoos


zoological garden
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with zoos


see: it's a zoo
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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