\ 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

Audubon Zoo officials say on the zoo's website that Rusty died Monday. Fox News, "Fox is 9th casualty after jaguar's weekend escape at zoo," 16 July 2018 While the donkeys adjust to their new home, zoo-goers will be able to see, but not touch, them. Anne Dunlap, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Hee-haw: Sanford zoo braying about toddler donkeys," 24 May 2018 The San Antonio Zoo is hosting a birthday celebration for visitors looking to celebrate the hippo, who joined his grandmother Uma at the facility in September 2017, immediately wooing zoo-goers with his smile. Kelsey Bradshaw, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio's Timothy the hippo is turning 3 this weekend," 13 Apr. 2018 Plan to spend at least a half-day at the zoo to get the full experience, which includes shows and animal presentations. Laura Ratliff, Condé Nast Traveler, "14 Best Things to Do in San Diego," 27 Feb. 2018 One of the shadiest spots at the zoo is the Tropics Trail, which houses dozens of birds from around the world. Connie Cone Sexton, azcentral, "10 best shade spots to escape the blistering Phoenix heat," 30 July 2014 The five big cats that broke out of their cages at a zoo in western Germany were recaptured following a hunt. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "The Lions, Tigers That Escaped From a German Zoo Have Been Recaptured – but the Bear Is Dead," 1 June 2018 He had been allowed into the habitat for about an hour Monday, a day the zoo is closed. Janet Mcconnaughey, The Seattle Times, "New Orleans zoo returns jaguar in strengthened exhibit," 5 Feb. 2019 Wandering across this massive board and its zoo of icons isn't really fun. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Smash Bros. Ultimate review: The best fighting game on any Nintendo system," 6 Dec. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near zoo








Statistics for zoo

Last Updated

21 Mar 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).


having no equal

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