\ 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

Bea is the first giraffe calf born at the zoo in 17 years. USA TODAY, "Burro bandits, sugarcane shake-up, naked bike ride: News from around our 50 states," 26 Aug. 2019 Andre Francisco, an interpretive naturalist at the zoo, said his initial goal was to show the YouthPower participants how much more there was to do outside. Christopher Magan, Twin Cities, "St. Paul’s YouthPower program rows toward a better understanding of black teens," 17 Aug. 2019 This marks the second year tadpoles reared at the zoo have been released into the Angeles National Forest. Los Angeles Times, "Meet the ‘rock star’ frog breeder vying to save Southern California’s rarest amphibian," 15 Aug. 2019 There will be live music on the lawn and plenty of presentations throughout the day to celebrate the big 5-0 at the zoo. Anchorage Daily News, "Fun things happening this week: Spenard Roadhouse is going to the dogs," 15 Aug. 2019 So far the kits, the first born at the zoo this year, are being raised by their mother, Mandolin. Andrew Nicla, azcentral, "Six black-footed ferret kits born at the Phoenix Zoo's conservation center," 29 June 2019 Most dogs stay at the zoo with their cheetah companions. Alexis Gravely, WSJ, "What’s Cuter Than a Baby Cheetah? A Baby Cheetah With Its Puppy Pal," 28 June 2019 New animals at the zoo go through a quarantine process to ensure they’re healthy before being introduced to the other species. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "6 adorable rescue sloths from Panama are now at the Indianapolis Zoo," 21 June 2019 Witten is the second young giraffe to die at the zoo in recent years. Dallas News, "Dallas Zoo says 1-year-old giraffe who died Monday was to be transferred to a Canadian zoo," 17 June 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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Dictionary Entries near zoo








Statistics for zoo

Last Updated

5 Sep 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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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