One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Zoology. A zoophyte; an individual polyp of a zoophyte. Formerly: specifically an animal of a taxonomic division Phytozoa, which included some or all of the zoophytes. Now historical and rare.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in William T. Brande (1788–1866), chemist. From phyto- + -zoon, after post-classical Latin Phytozoa. Compare Italian fitozoo, and French phytozoaire.
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