1. any continuous area that differs in some respect, or is distinguished for some purpose, from adjoining areas, or within which certain distinctive circumstances exist or are established: The decisions were formulated in a zone of uncertainty. The temperature lies outside the danger zone.
  2. 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 North Frigid Zone, North Temperate Zone, South Frigid Zone, South Temperate Zone, Torrid Zone.
  3. Biogeography. an area characterized by a particular set of organisms, whose presence is determined by environmental conditions, as an altitudinal belt on a mountain.
  4. Geology. a horizon.
  5. Geometry. a part of the surface of a sphere included between two parallel planes.
  6. a specific district, area, etc., within which a uniform charge is made for transportation, mail delivery, or other service.
  7. the total number of available railroad terminals within a given circumference around a given shipping center.
  8. an area or district in a city or town under special restrictions as to the type, size, purpose, etc., of existing or proposed buildings.
  9. time zone.
  10. 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.
  11. Sports. a particular portion of a playing area: The wing was trapped with the puck in his own defensive zone.
  12. the zone, Informal. a state of intense concentration and focus that greatly improves a person’s performance in a physical or mental activity, especially in sports: He has a great golf swing, but he needs to be in the zone.
  13. Archaic. a girdle or belt; cincture.

verb (used with object), zoned, zon·ing.

  1. to mark with zones or bands.
  2. to divide into zones, tracts, areas, etc., as according to existing characteristics or as distinguished for some purpose.
  3. to divide (a city, town, neighborhood, etc.) into areas subject to special restrictions on any existing or proposed buildings.
  4. to encircle or surround with a zone, girdle, belt, or the like.

verb (used without object), zoned, zon·ing.

  1. to be formed into zones.

Verb Phrases

  1. zone out, Informal. to become inattentive or dazed: I must have zoned out toward the end of the lecture.


  1. a region, area, or section characterized by some distinctive feature or quality
  2. a sphere of thought, disagreement, argument, etc
  3. an area subject to a particular political, military, or government function, use, or jurisdictiona demilitarized zone
  4. (often capital) geography one of the divisions of the earth’s surface, esp divided into latitudinal belts according to temperatureSee Torrid Zone, Frigid Zone, Temperate Zone
  5. geology a distinctive layer or region of rock, characterized by particular fossils (zone fossils), metamorphism, structural deformity, etc
  6. ecology an area, esp a belt of land, having a particular flora and fauna determined by the prevailing environmental conditions
  7. maths a portion of a sphere between two parallel planes intersecting the sphere
  8. sport
    1. a mental state that enables a competitor to perform to the best of his or her abilityHingis is in the zone at the moment
    2. (modifier)of or relating to competitive performance that depends on the mood or state of mind of the participanta zone player
  9. archaic, or literary a girdle or belt
  10. NZ a section on a transport route; fare stage
  11. NZ a catchment area for pupils for a specific school
  12. in the zone See zone (def. 8)

verb (tr)

  1. to divide into zones, as for different use, jurisdiction, activities, etc
  2. to designate as a zone
  3. to mark with or divide into zones
  4. 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.


  1. An area or a region distinguished from adjacent parts by a distinctive feature or characteristic.
  2. zona
  3. A segment.

  1. 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.
  2. Ecology An area characterized by distinct physical conditions and populated by communities of certain kinds of organisms.
  3. Mathematics A portion of a sphere bounded by the intersections of two parallel planes with the sphere.
  4. Anatomy An area or a region distinguished from adjacent parts by a distinctive feature or characteristic.
  5. Geology A region or stratum distinguished by composition or content.

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