\ ˈzü How to pronounce zoo (audio) \
plural zoos

Definition of zoo

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a facility with usually indoor and outdoor settings where living, typically wild animals are kept especially for public exhibition

called also zooological garden, zoological park

2 : a place, situation, or group marked by crowding, confusion, or unrestrained behavior The convention was a zoo.

Definition of zoo- (Entry 2 of 2)

— see zo-

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Examples of zoo in a Sentence


The sixth grade classroom was a zoo after recess. The supermarket was a real zoo on the night before the storm.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The zoo plans to bring in another male hippo later this year. Dallas News, "It's a ... girl: Dallas Zoo reveals baby hippo's name, a tribute to her father," 7 June 2019 The campaign to ban or curb horse racing is somewhat akin to the debate over zoos — whether such institutions are vital for wildlife conservation or whether captivity is a form of imprisonment. Vanessa Hua, SFChronicle.com, "The curious power of a day at the races," 7 June 2019 Don’t forget the two great zoos in Lincoln Park and Brookfield. Randy Blaser, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Summer is here. You better enjoy it while it lasts.," 6 June 2019 The zoo received an additional two males and two females in the summer of 2018. Raquel Baier, azcentral, "4 pygmy-owls hatch at Phoenix Zoo as part of conservation program," 6 June 2019 The Seaport Museum is putting on mini-cruises; the zoo has erected an obstacle course. Lauren Mccutcheon, https://www.inquirer.com, "Family fun in Philadelphia: Dinosaurs on the Parkway, zipline at the zoo, JoJo Siwa, Apollo 11 festivities, Cirque," 5 June 2019 New observations have now expanded the zoo of pentaquarks, but suggest a tamer explanation for their structure. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Exotic particles called pentaquarks may be less weird than previously thought," 5 June 2019 The baby brings the zoo’s snow leopard total to three. Robin Goist, cleveland.com, "Snow leopard cub born at Akron Zoo," 5 June 2019 To make sure those diamond and onyx figures looked ready to pounce, legendary Cartier jewelry Director Jeanne Toussaint made all her designers spend quality time at the Paris zoo. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Monica Bellucci Wore the Historic Cartier María Félix Tribute Necklace at Cannes," 20 May 2019

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

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First Known Use of zoo


1835, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for zoo


short for zoological garden

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Statistics for zoo

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for zoo

The first known use of zoo was in 1835

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English Language Learners Definition of zoo

: a place where many kinds of animals are kept so that people can see them
informal : a place, situation, or group that is crowded, loud, and uncontrolled


\ ˈzü How to pronounce zoo (audio) \
plural zoos

Kids Definition of zoo

: a place where living usually wild animals are kept for showing to the public

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More from Merriam-Webster on zoo

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with zoo

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zoo

Spanish Central: Translation of zoo

Nglish: Translation of zoo for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of zoo for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about zoo

Comments on zoo

What made you want to look up zoo? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


behavior toward others

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