One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Human society, or a social community, likened to a zoo, especially with regard to its diversity, its confined cohabitation, or to behaviour considered animalistic; (also) humanity characterized as fit for scientific observation, anthropological study, etc.
2A place in which people, especially from minority or non-European communities, are viewed or exhibited as a scientific or popular curiosity (chiefly historical).
Late 19th century; earliest use found in The Leeds Mercury.
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