Definition of zoo in English:



  • 1An establishment which maintains a collection of wild animals, typically in a park or gardens, for study, conservation, or display to the public.

    • ‘It is not the case that the only alternative to keeping animals in a zoo is euthanasia.’
    • ‘We had a neighbour who had a private zoo and his animals would sometimes escape.’
    • ‘All four animals will eventually return to zoos in China, but their offspring will be returned to wildlife reserves.’
    • ‘Hundreds of thousands of animals languish in zoos around the world.’
    • ‘Effortlessly refined, he peers at his audience as if we were animals in a zoo.’
    • ‘These animals are suffering in zoos and dying in zoos because of captivity-induced conditions.’
    • ‘In Colombia, biologists are busy reintroducing young condors hatched in North American zoos to parks and reserves.’
    • ‘The proceeds it makes from selling the phones go to supporting various conservation groups, primarily zoos.’
    • ‘Studying animal in zoos has advantages, but it's no substitute for fieldwork.’
    • ‘Family trips to amusement parks, zoos, botanical gardens, and national parks will be highlighted.’
    • ‘Once it was only possible to see animals in zoos or in marine parks but in recent years there has been a huge growth in wildlife tourism around the world.’
    • ‘At one time, however, about the only way most people could see real animal predators was in zoos and circuses.’
    • ‘The trend nowadays is to loan animals from other zoos for breeding purposes.’
    • ‘While some of the animals are kept in zoos, the Sumatran rhino is difficult to breed in captivity.’
    • ‘We run breeding programmes in partnership with local and international zoos and swop animals to keep gene pools intact.’
    • ‘His favourite day trip would be a visit to a wildlife park or to the zoo.’
    • ‘So far, six codes have been approved - for layer hens, broiler chickens, pigs, circus animals, rodeos and zoos.’
    • ‘Placement of these unwanted animals is difficult because most zoos are unwilling to take them and few sanctuary facilities exist.’
    • ‘Due to a lack of funds, some animals in the zoo are kept in small cages and some do not get enough food.’
    • ‘Staff have begun moving the remaining animals out of its zoo and mothballing the fairground.’
    1. 1.1 A situation characterized by confusion and disorder.
      ‘it's a zoo in the lobby’
      • ‘I was reluctant to do the Olympics because I thought it would be a zoo.’
      • ‘Through the human zoo called Paris, the driver found his way to the shop located in the middle of the entertainment part of the city.’


Mid 19th century: abbreviation of zoological garden, originally applied specifically to that of Regent's Park, London.