plankton

[plangk-tuhn]
noun
the aggregate of passively floating, drifting, or somewhat motile organisms occurring in a body of water, primarily comprising microscopic algae and protozoa.

Origin:
1890–95; < German, special use of neuter of Greek planktós drifting, equivalent to plang-, variant stem of plázesthai to drift, roam, wander + -tos verbid suffix

planktonic [plangk-ton-ik] , adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To plankton
Collins
World English Dictionary
plankton (ˈplæŋktən)
 
n
Compare nekton the organisms inhabiting the surface layer of a sea or lake, consisting of small drifting plants and animals, such as diatoms
 
[C19: via German from Greek planktos wandering, from plazesthai to roam]
 
planktonic
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

plankton
1891, from Ger. Plankton (1887), coined by Ger. physiologist Viktor Hensen (1835-1924) from Gk. plankton, neut. of planktos "wandering, drifting," verbal adj. from plazesthai "to wander, drift," from plazein "to drive astray."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
plankton  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (plāngk'tən)  Pronunciation Key 
Small organisms that float or drift in great numbers in bodies of salt or fresh water. Plankton is a primary food source for many animals, and consists of bacteria, protozoans, certain algae, cnidarians, tiny crustaceans such as copepods, and many other organisms. Compare benthos, nekton.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
What it's definitely not from is diatoms and plankton.
The marine plankton that end up as oil and natural gas undergo similar
  transformations.
Plankton in the open ocean need a precise mixture of sunlight in shallower
  waters and nutrients from the deep.
Basking sharks can be found in coastal waters and feed on plankton.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature