Definition of phylum in US English:



  • 1A principal taxonomic category that ranks above class and below kingdom.

    • ‘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.’
    kind, sort, type, order, class, classification, category, variety, genre, brand, style
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    1. 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.
      • ‘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.’
      taxonomic group, group, order, class, subclass, genus, species
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Late 19th century: modern Latin from Greek, phulon ‘race’.