"organism that lives in a large body of water and is unable to swim against the current," 1891, from German Plankton (1887), coined by German physiologist Viktor Hensen (1835-1924) from Greek plankton, neuter of planktos "wandering, drifting," verbal adjective from plazesthai "to wander, drift," from plazein "to drive astray," from PIE root *plak- (2) "to strike." Related: Planktonic.
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Definitions of phytoplankton from WordNet
photosynthetic or plant constituent of plankton; mainly unicellular algae;