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Part of speech: adjective

Origin: French, early 19th century


Of, relating to, or occurring at the bottom of a body of water or in the depths of the ocean.

Examples of Benthic in a sentence

"Jacques Cousteau was fascinated by benthic creatures."

"Part of marine biology is studying benthic flora and fauna."

About Benthic

This term comes from late 19th century German zoologist Ernst Haeckel’s usage of “benthos,” which means "depth of the sea." It is related to “bathos,” meaning "depth," and “bathys,” which means "deep, high." It is likely of Indo-European descent but its origin is uncertain.

Did you Know?

When referring to the depths of the ocean, the rarely used adjectives “benthal” and “​​benthonic.” are synonyms to “benthic.” In 1979, geomarine researcher Bruce W. Hayward published an article called “Benthonic or Benthic?” in the Geological Society of New Zealand Newsletter. His conclusion? “The answer to whether ‘benthic’ or ‘benthonic’ is correct in English is yes: if they are acceptable to the people who employ and deploy them, then both are correct.”

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