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[zoh-ning] /ˈzoʊ nɪŋ/
(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
1810-20; zone + -ing2


[zohn] /zoʊn/
any continuous tract or area that differs in some respect, or is distinguished for some purpose, from adjoining tracts or areas, or within which certain distinctive circumstances exist or are established.
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.
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.
Archaic. a girdle or belt; cincture.
verb (used with object), zoned, zoning.
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, zoning.
to be formed into zones.
1490-1500; < Latin zōna < Greek zṓnē belt
Related forms
zoneless, adjective
interzone, noun
miszone, verb, miszoned, miszoning.
unzone, verb (used with object), unzoned, unzoning.
1. region. See belt. 16. gird, band. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for zoning
  • Their precise zoning has yet to be established, but they're worth a try.
  • We should reduce restrictive zoning laws for non-intrusive business.
  • He has had ongoing battles with the legal system regarding failure to get permits, improper zoning, and tax dodging.
  • Tells about the arcane zoning shuffle required to build the structure.
  • Red-light districts were an outcome of the larger process of zoning cities into commercial, residential, and industrial sectors.
  • zoning is another area of regulation that people don't talk about but that has a major effect on the way cities flourish.
  • The property with the shanties, a game-fowl farm, was facing zoning and health-code violations.
  • Areas shaded in purple on the maps show townspeople how much open land remains and could still be developed under current zoning.
  • The city's zoning code lets developers build larger buildings if they top them with eco-roofs.
  • Check the building codes and zoning regulations for your area.
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 jurisdiction: a demilitarized zone
(often capital) (geography) one of the divisions of the earth's surface, esp divided into latitudinal belts according to temperature See 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 ability: Hingis 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 participant: a 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 (sense 8)
verb (transitive)
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 Forms
zoning, noun
Word Origin
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
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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
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zoning in Medicine

zoning zon·ing (zō'nĭng)
An unexpectedly strong immunologic reaction in a small amount of serum, probably the result of high antibody titer.

zone (zōn)

  1. An area or a region distinguished from adjacent parts by a distinctive feature or characteristic.

  2. See zona.

  3. A segment.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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zoning in Science

  1. 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.

  2. Ecology An area characterized by distinct physical conditions and populated by communities of certain kinds of organisms.

  3. Mathematics A portion of a sphere bounded by the intersections of two parallel planes with the sphere.

  4. Anatomy An area or a region distinguished from adjacent parts by a distinctive feature or characteristic.

  5. Geology A region or stratum distinguished by composition or content.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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zoning in Culture

zoning definition

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

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for zoning


  1. A very strange person, esp one with a vacant, corpselike manner; weirdo (1930s+ Students)
  2. n unresponsive person; a mentally numb or dead person: My students are all zombies this term (1936+)

[origin uncertain; perhaps fr an African word akin to nzambi, ''god''; perhaps fr Louisiana Creole, ''phantom, ghost,'' fr Spanish sombra, ''shade, ghost''; popularized by horror stories and movies featuring the walking dead persons of voodoo belief]

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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