Aphotic – Definition & Meaning

The word “aphotic” may not be familiar to everyone, but it is a term that is commonly used in the field of marine biology. This word is used to describe a particular zone in the ocean that is devoid of sunlight. In this article, we will explore the meaning and definition of aphotic, its origin, and its associations.


The term “aphotic” is derived from the Greek word “aphos,” which means “without light.” It is used to describe a zone in the ocean that is too deep for sunlight to penetrate. This zone is also known as the midnight zone, and it is characterized by extremely cold temperatures and high pressure.


The word “aphotic” was first used in the late 19th century by scientists who were studying the ocean’s depths. It was coined from the Greek word “aphos,” which means “without light.”

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, aphotic means “being or occurring in the aphotic zone of the ocean.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “relating to or denoting the zone of the ocean below the depth to which sunlight can penetrate, characterized by darkness and cold.”


The aphotic zone is home to a variety of unique and fascinating creatures, including bioluminescent fish, giant squid, and blind shrimp. These animals have adapted to the extreme conditions of this zone, where there is no sunlight and food is scarce.


Some synonyms of aphotic include dark, lightless, unlit, and sunless.


The antonyms of aphotic include bright, illuminated, and sunny.

The same root words

The root word of aphotic is “aphos,” which means “without light.” Other words that share this root include aphonia (loss of voice), aphelion (the point in a planet’s orbit furthest from the sun), and aphasia (loss of speech).

Example Sentences

  1. The creatures that live in the aphotic zone have adapted to the extreme conditions of darkness and cold.
  2. The research vessel was equipped with special cameras to capture images of the bioluminescent fish in the aphotic zone.
  3. The aphotic zone is one of the least explored areas of the ocean, and scientists are still discovering new species that live there.
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