bio·​di·​ver·​si·​ty ˌbī-(ˌ)ō-də-ˈvər-sə-tē How to pronounce biodiversity (audio)
: biological diversity in an environment as indicated by numbers of different species of plants and animals
biodiverse adjective

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Biodiversity may become the rallying call for the next decade, wrote David Wake in the journal Science in 1989. Indeed, biodiversity is a word you're likely to encounter in writing about ecology and the environment today. But when Wake used it, "biodiversity" was still a relatively new addition to the English language, having first appeared in writing in the mid-1980s. Of course, the roots of biodiversity are much older. It evolved from a commingling of the descendants of the Greek noun bios, which means "mode of life," and the Latin verb divertere, which means "to turn aside" or "to go different ways."

Examples of biodiversity in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Missouri’s native ecosystems offer a breathtaking display of biodiversity — but some of the state’s natural habitats are under attack. Natalie Wallington, Kansas City Star, 13 May 2024 In addition to their cultural importance, black ash is a wetland species that regulates water levels, and their loss reduces biodiversity. Gaby Vinick, ABC News, 13 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for biodiversity 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'biodiversity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


bio- + diversity

First Known Use

1985, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of biodiversity was in 1985


Dictionary Entries Near biodiversity

Cite this Entry

“Biodiversity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


bio·​di·​ver·​si·​ty -də-ˈvər-sət-ē How to pronounce biodiversity (audio)
: biological variety in an environment as indicated by numbers of different species of plants and animals

More from Merriam-Webster on biodiversity

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