tax·​on | \ ˈtak-ˌsän How to pronounce taxon (audio) \
plural taxa\ ˈtak-​sə How to pronounce taxon (audio) \ also taxons

Definition of taxon

1 : a scientifically classified group or entity : a taxonomic unit (such as a genus or order) of any rank Like higher taxa, subspecies are also partly objective but partly based on human decision.— Stephen Jay Gould … we know from the fossil record that this is a relict taxon … originating 13 million years ago …— Bernard Wood et al.
2 : the name applied to a taxonomic group in a formal system of nomenclature The marine triclads are formally subsumed in the taxon Maricola …— Seth Tyler

Examples of taxon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The semi-aquatic costs were driven solely by a single species, the yellow fever mosquito, reflecting the substantial human healthcare costs associated with this taxon, the authors note in the study. Sahana Ghosh, Quartz, 10 May 2022 Failure to deposit a new taxon in two culture collections means researchers miss out on publication in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, ICSP’s official journal, a prerequisite for validation. Pratik Pawar, Science | AAAS, 20 Oct. 2020 One of the bite marks may be from an unusually large Allosaurus or a separate, large-bodied taxon such as Saurophaganax or Torvosaurus tanneri, which have been found in other parts of the Morrison Formation. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 27 May 2020 And depending on your view of mammalian evolution, the first taxon to develop diurnality was either the most common recent ancestor of all apes and monkeys or the most common recent ancestor of all… elephant shrews. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, 10 Nov. 2017 The rules for naming a new animal taxon are governed by the ICZN, while the International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT) governs plants. Benjamin Jones, Smithsonian, 7 Sep. 2017 Global patterns and predictors of marine biodiversity across taxa. Jess Mcnally, WIRED, 28 July 2010 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'taxon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of taxon

1929, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for taxon

borrowed from German Taxon, extracted from Taxonomie taxonomy, with -on functioning as a suffix, based on the Greek neuter noun and participle ending — more at -on entry 2

Note: German Taxon was introduced by the philosopher and historian of the natural sciences Adolf Meyer-Abich (1893-1971) in Logik der Morphologie im Rahmen einer Logik der gesamten Biologie (Berlin, 1926), p. 127.

Learn More About taxon

Dictionary Entries Near taxon




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for taxon

Cite this Entry

“Taxon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for taxon


tax·​on | \ ˈtak-ˌsän How to pronounce taxon (audio) \
plural taxa\ -​sə How to pronounce taxon (audio) \ also taxons

Medical Definition of taxon

1 : a taxonomic group or entity
2 : the name applied to a taxonomic group in a formal system of nomenclature

More from Merriam-Webster on taxon

Britannica English: Translation of taxon for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about taxon


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!