One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A principal taxonomic category that ranks above class and below kingdom.
kind, sort, type, order, class, classification, category, variety, genre, brand, styleView synonyms
- ‘He developed the system whereby every known living creature is assigned to a kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.’
- ‘The superphylum Deuterostomia contains the diverse phyla Chordata and Echinodermata and the minor phyla Hemichordata and Urochordata.’
- ‘In the animal kingdom there are many phyla, and the mammals come into a phylum called the chordates.’
- ‘Arthropods, chordates and annelids are the three segmented phyla in the animal kingdom.’
- ‘Of particular interest in this regard are animals in the early diverging non-bilaterian phyla Porifera, Placozoa, Cnidaria, and Ctenophora.’
- 1.1Linguistics A group of languages related to each other less closely than those forming a family, especially one in which the relationships are disputed or unclear.
taxonomic group, group, order, class, subclass, genus, speciesView synonyms
- ‘Na-Dene is one of the most widely distributed language phyla in North America.’
- ‘Within a phylum, however, it may also be necessary to recognize some languages that have no close relatives and do not fall into families.’
Late 19th century: modern Latin from Greek, phulon ‘race’.
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