Share this entry

zoetrope Syllabification: zo·e·trope
Pronunciation: /ˈzōēˌtrōp/

Definition of zoetrope in English:


A 19th-century optical toy consisting of a cylinder with a series of pictures on the inner surface that, when viewed through slits with the cylinder rotating, give an impression of continuous motion.
Example sentences
  • Submedia Advertising, which developed the technology based on a 19th century toy, the zoetrope, expects 7.4 million to see the ad over one month.
  • A favorite assignment was designing a giant zoetrope, which projects images through slits in a revolving wheel, for a toy store.
  • The green blur of the commuter train as it speeds in the night draws a streak of light like a zoetrope, one of the many visual surprises.


Mid 19th century: formed irregularly from Greek zōē 'life' + -tropos 'turning'.

Words that rhyme with zoetrope

skipping-rope • tightrope

Definition of zoetrope in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources