from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. An animal developed from a fertilized egg.
- n. One of the distinct individuals that join to form a compound or colonial animal; a zooid.
- intransitive v. Chiefly Southern U.S. To fly with a humming or buzzing sound.
New Latin zōon, from Greek zōion, zōon, living being; see gwei- in Indo-European roots.
Probably imitative.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First adopted by Herbert Spencer in Principles of Biology (see 1864 quotation): from New Latin zōon, from Ancient Greek ζῷον (zōion, "animal"). (Wiktionary)