zoo

[zoo]
noun, plural zoos.
1.
Also called zoological garden. a parklike area in which live animals are kept in cages or large enclosures for public exhibition.
2.
Informal. a place, activity, or group marked by chaos or unrestrained behavior.

Origin:
1840–50; first two syllables of zoological garden taken as one syllable

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
zoo (zuː)
 
n , pl zoos
Formal term: zoological garden a place where live animals are kept, studied, bred, and exhibited to the public
 
[C19: shortened from zoological gardens (originally applied to those in London)]

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

zoo
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 Gk. zoion "an animal," lit. "a living being," from PIE base *gwei- "to live, life" (cf. Gk. bios "life," O.E. cwicu "living;"
see bio-). Slang meaning "crowded and chaotic place" first recorded 1935.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

zoo- or zo-
pref.
Animal; animal kingdom: zoonosis.

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

zoo definition


  1. n.
    a confusing and chaotic place. : This place is a zoo on Monday mornings.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
zoo
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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Example sentences for zoos
Zoos sometimes use chickens instead of insecticides to control insect
  populations.
Hybrids are still bred in private menageries and in zoos in china.
Many animals when kept in captivity, such as in zoos, display abnormal
  behaviours.
Accounts exist of bonobos in zoos mutilating one another and engaging in
  bullying.
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