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phylum Line breaks: phy¦lum
Pronunciation: /ˈfʌɪləm/

Definition of phylum in English:

noun (plural phyla ˈfʌɪlə)

1 Zoology A principal taxonomic category that ranks above class and below kingdom, equivalent to the division in botany.
Example sentences
  • 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.
2 Linguistics A group of languages related to each other less closely than those forming a family, especially one in which the relationships are unclear.
Example sentences
  • 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.


Late 19th century: modern Latin from Greek, phulon 'race'.

Words that rhyme with phylum

asylum, hilum, whilom
Definition of phylum in:
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