|—n , pl -zoa, -zoans, -zoa|
|1.||Also called: protozoon any of various minute unicellular organisms formerly regarded as invertebrates of the phylum Protozoa but now usually classified in certain phyla of protoctists. Protozoans include flagellates, ciliates, sporozoans, amoebas, and foraminifers|
|2.||of or relating to protozoans|
|[C19: via New Latin from Greek |
protozoa pro·to·zo·a (prō'tə-zō'ə)
Plural of protozoan.
protozoan pro·to·zo·an (prō'tə-zō'ən) or pro·to·zo·on (-ŏn')
n. pl. pro·to·zo·a (-zō'ə) or pro·to·zo·ans or pro·to·zo·a or pro·to·zo·ons
Any of a group of single-celled, usually microscopic, eukaryotic organisms, such as amoebas, ciliates, flagellates, and sporozoans.
|protozoan (prō'tə-zō'ən) Pronunciation Key
Plural protozoans or protozoa
Any of a large group of one-celled organisms (called protists) that live in water or as parasites. Many protozoans move about by means of appendages known as cilia or flagella. Protozoans include the amoebas, flagellates, foraminiferans, and ciliates. Their traditional classification as the subkingdom Protozoa is still used for convenience, but it is now known that protozoans represent several evolutionarily distinct groups. See more at protist.
Single-celled animals, such as amoebas, that are the most primitive form of animal life. In modern biology, they are classified in the kingdom of Protoctista rather than in the animal kingdom. (See Linnean classification.)
Note: Some protozoa are parasites and may be pathogenic, causing diseases such as malaria and dysentery.