Definition of Ciona
: a genus (coextensive with the family Cionidae) comprising relatively large simple ascidians and including a single cosmopolitan species (C. intestinalis)
cionid\ˈsīənə̇d, -ˌnid\ adjective or noun
Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.
Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:
- 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
- Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
- Advanced search features
- Ad free!
Origin and Etymology of ciona
borrowed from New Latin, perhaps derivative from the base of Greek kīon-, kī́ōn “pillar, uvula” — more at cion- ◆Genus name introduced by the British clergyman and naturalist John Fleming (1785-1857) in The Philosophy of Zoology, or a General View of the Structure, Functions, and Classification of Animals, vol. 2 (Edinburgh, 1822), p. 512 (his Ciona intestinalis replacing Linnaeus’ Ascidia intestinalis). As with many of the dozens of taxonomic names introduced by Fleming, there is no suggestion of an etymology. One is left to guess as to whether the tunicate’s form suggested a pillar or uvula, or whether Fleming had a completely different classical (or non-classical) base in mind.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up Ciona? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).