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any continuous tract or area that differs in some respect, or is distinguished for some purpose, from adjoining tracts or areas, or within which certain distinctive circumstances exist or are established.
Geography. any of five great divisions of the earth’s surface, bounded by lines parallel to the equator and named according to the prevailing temperature.
Compare , , , , .
Biogeography. an area characterized by a particular set of organisms, whose presence is determined by environmental conditions, as an altitudinal belt on a mountain.
Geology. a horizon.
Geometry. a part of the surface of a sphere included between two parallel planes.
a specific district, area, etc., within which a uniform charge is made for transportation, mail delivery, or other service.
the total number of available railroad terminals within a given circumference around a given shipping center.
an area or district in a city or town under special restrictions as to the type, size, purpose, etc., of existing or proposed buildings.
Also called postal delivery zone. (in the U.S. postal system) any of the numbered districts into which a city or metropolitan area was formerly divided for expediting the sorting and delivery of mail.
Sports. a particular portion of a playing area:
The wing was trapped with the puck in his own defensive zone.
Archaic. a girdle or belt; cincture.
to mark with zones or bands.
to divide into zones, tracts, areas, etc., as according to existing characteristics or as distinguished for some purpose.
to divide (a city, town, neighborhood, etc.) into areas subject to special restrictions on any existing or proposed buildings.
to encircle or surround with a zone, girdle, belt, or the like.
to be formed into zones.
Contemporary Examples

When Breman and Johnson arrived on the scene, the government had already quarantined 275,000 people in the Bumba zone.
1976 Vs. Today: Ebola’s Terrifying Evolution Abby Haglage September 9, 2014

His astonishing new novel “The zone of Interest,” which will be released Sept. 30, is his latest attempt.
How Hitch & Amis Discovered Evil In My House Peter Foges September 27, 2014

Mercury entering your zone of universal concerns, on Thursday, pushes you beyond hubris into humility.
Horoscopes: May 29-June 4, 2011 Starsky + Cox May 27, 2011

Now the strange mélange of indie zest and corporate interests resembles, she says, an episode of The Twilight zone.
Parker Posey on Her Comeback Role in ‘Price Check’ Marlow Stern January 28, 2012

Similarly, the zone Assessment Unit gathered huge volumes of intelligence for which there seemed to be no immediate justification.
NYPD Will Continue Spying in the Muslim Community With Undercovers, Informants Michael Daly April 15, 2014

Historical Examples

Why round her middle wears this world so rich a zone of torrid verdure, if she be not dressing for the final rites?
Pierre; or The Ambiguities Herman Melville

Commerce defies every wind, outrides every tempest, and invades every zone.
Pearls of Thought Maturin M. Ballou

Indeed the excitement nearly caused a stoppage of work along the zone, a matter almost without precedent.
The Hero of Panama F. S. Brereton

It lights up the zone of potentialities that surrounds the act.
Creative Evolution Henri Bergson

Beyond the zone of the firelight, the room was all in a warm gloom, rich and dim.
The Black Pearl Mrs. Wilson Woodrow

a region, area, or section characterized by some distinctive feature or quality
a sphere of thought, disagreement, argument, etc
an area subject to a particular political, military, or government function, use, or jurisdiction: a demilitarized zone
(often capital) (geography) one of the divisions of the earth’s surface, esp divided into latitudinal belts according to temperature See Torrid Zone, Frigid Zone, Temperate Zone
(geology) a distinctive layer or region of rock, characterized by particular fossils (zone fossils), metamorphism, structural deformity, etc
(ecology) an area, esp a belt of land, having a particular flora and fauna determined by the prevailing environmental conditions
(maths) a portion of a sphere between two parallel planes intersecting the sphere

a mental state that enables a competitor to perform to the best of his or her ability: Hingis is in the zone at the moment
(modifier) of or relating to competitive performance that depends on the mood or state of mind of the participant: a zone player

(archaic or literary) a girdle or belt
(NZ) a section on a transport route; fare stage
(NZ) a catchment area for pupils for a specific school
in the zone, See zone (sense 8)
verb (transitive)
to divide into zones, as for different use, jurisdiction, activities, etc
to designate as a zone
to mark with or divide into zones
(NZ) to establish (an area) as a zone for a specific school

late 14c., from Latin zona “geographical belt, celestial zone,” from Greek zone “a belt,” related to zonnynai “to gird,” from PIE root *yes- “to gird, girdle” (cf. Avestan yasta- “girt,” Lithuanian juosiu “to gird,” Old Church Slavonic po-jasu “girdle”).

Originally one of the five great divisions of the earth’s surface (torrid, temperate, frigid; separated by tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and Arctic and Antarctic circles); meaning “any discrete region” is first recorded 1822. Zone defense in team sports is recorded from 1927. Zoning “land-use planning” is recorded from 1912. Zoned (adj.) in drug-use sense is attested 1960s, from ozone, which is found high in the atmosphere; the related verb to zone is from 1980s.

zone (zōn)

An area or a region distinguished from adjacent parts by a distinctive feature or characteristic.

See zona.

A segment.


Any of the five regions of the surface of the Earth that are loosely divided according to prevailing climate and latitude, including the Torrid Zone, the North and South Temperate zones, and the North and South Frigid zones.

Ecology An area characterized by distinct physical conditions and populated by communities of certain kinds of organisms.

Mathematics A portion of a sphere bounded by the intersections of two parallel planes with the sphere.

Anatomy An area or a region distinguished from adjacent parts by a distinctive feature or characteristic.

Geology A region or stratum distinguished by composition or content.


A psychedelic condition, usually due to drugs: He wasn’t making much sense because he was way up there in a zone

[1960s+ College students; fr the notion of being as high as the ozone layer of the atmosphere]


A very strange person, esp one with a vacant, corpselike manner; weirdo (1930s+ Students)
n unresponsive person; a mentally numb or dead person: My students are all zombies this term (1936+)

[origin uncertain; perhaps fr an African word akin to nzambi, ”god”; perhaps fr Louisiana Creole, ”phantom, ghost,” fr Spanish sombra, ”shade, ghost”; popularized by horror stories and movies featuring the walking dead persons of voodoo belief]

verb phrase

To make someone stuporous like a zombie: The medication I received for a couple of years ”zombied me out” so bad I couldn’t work (1980s+)

A logical group of network devices on AppleTalk.


Read Also:

  • Zone of avoidance

    the area of the sky in the plane of the Milky Way where interstellar dust obscures visible light so that no distant galaxies can be observed.

  • Zone defense

    a method of defense, especially in basketball and football, in which each member of the defensive team guards a specified portion of the playing area.

  • Zone of fire

    the area within which a unit is prepared to place its fire.

  • Zone of leaching

    . zone of leaching See A horizon.

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