taxon

noun

tax·​on ˈtak-ˌsän How to pronounce taxon (audio)
plural taxa ˈtak-sə How to pronounce taxon (audio) also taxons
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 In a new study in Nature Communications, the researchers identify the likely cause: a type of bacterium called Bisgaard taxon 45. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Nov. 2023 Again And Again To start this process, the study authors chose 19 common techniques for estimating an extinct animal’s mass and applied them to five separate species similar to the temnospondyls, though not members of the taxon themselves. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 26 Nov. 2022 The goal of this study was to develop a reliable method of electroejaculation in the rhinoceros by designing a rectal probe that appropriately fits the anatomy of this taxon and refining the procedure. Ncbi Rofl, Discover Magazine, 9 Sep. 2011 In fact, according to a study in Palaeontology, the temnospondyls — a taxon of primitive amphibians that lived around 330 million to 120 million years ago and looked a lot like crocodiles — came in a variety of sizes. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 26 Nov. 2022 Researchers believe this taxon is unique to the southern reaches of the region. Breanna Draxler, Discover Magazine, 17 July 2013 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 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'taxon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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.

First Known Use

1929, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of taxon was in 1929

Dictionary Entries Near taxon

Cite this Entry

“Taxon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/taxon. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition

taxon

noun
tax·​on ˈtak-ˌsän How to pronounce taxon (audio)
plural taxa -sə How to pronounce taxon (audio) also taxons
1
: a taxonomic group or entity
2
: the name applied to a taxonomic group in a formal system of nomenclature

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