One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A plantlike animal, especially a coral, sea anemone, sponge, or sea lily.
- ‘There resulted, he proposed, eleven general grades with man at the apex and the zoophytes at the bottom, the zoophytes being invertebrate animals resembling plants.’
- ‘It lists all the rarer plants of the district, and the zoophytes, and devotes a whole chapter to geology.’
- ‘Sheer chance had placed me in the presence of the most valuable specimens of this zoophyte.’
- ‘A bottle was produced which was said to contain certain zoophytes.’
- ‘During those two days of April 11-12, the Nautilus didn't leave the surface of the sea, and its trawl brought up a simply miraculous catch of zoophytes, fish, and reptiles.’
Early 17th century: from Greek zōiophuton (see zoo-, -phyte).
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