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.

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

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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
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Word Origin & History

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-
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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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
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
Hybrids are still bred in private menageries and in zoos in china.
Many animals when kept in captivity, such as in zoos, display abnormal
Accounts exist of bonobos in zoos mutilating one another and engaging in
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