bio·​di·​ver·​si·​ty | \ˌbī-(ˌ)ō-də-ˈvər-sə-tē, -dī-\

Definition of biodiversity 

: biological diversity in an environment as indicated by numbers of different species of plants and animals

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Other Words from biodiversity

biodiverse \ ˌbī-​(ˌ)ō-​dī-​ˈvərs , -​də-​ \ adjective

Did You Know?

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

In partnership with Seedshed, a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening seed biodiversity in the Northeast, the farm is growing lettuce varieties bred for heat resistance and for flavor, too. Jane Black, WSJ, "Why Your Squash Tastes Better Than It Used To," 3 Oct. 2018 Most at home in the garden, de Broglie started planting heirloom vegetables and soon discovered that tomatoes are an edible metaphor for the abundant biodiversity of the natural world. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "How a French Prince Is Saving the World From Tasteless Tomatoes," 17 Sep. 2018 The magnitude of loss in the destruction of forests, wetlands, biodiversity losses, and ocean acidification are irreversible impacts of climate change and fossil fuel expansion. Maia Wikler, Teen Vogue, "12 Activists Blocked an Oil Tanker Transporting From the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline in Canada," 6 Sep. 2018 In 2017, nearly half a million foreign visitors traveled to the park in hopes of glimpsing this rich biodiversity. Christopher Bendana, The Christian Science Monitor, "Uganda's pride: Lions test locals' patience," 27 June 2018 In celebration of this biodiversity, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry has compiled a list of the Top 10 new species that were described by science in the previous year. Sean Greene,, "A rare great ape, a 130-foot-tall tree and an extinct marsupial lion make the Top 10 New Species list for 2018," 23 May 2018 The group with the most notably higher biodiversity in the sacred natural sites than in control sites were the fungi. John Healey, John Halley And Kalliopi Stara, Smithsonian, "Sacred Sites Can Also Be Hotspots of Conservation," 17 May 2018 International biodiversity work was also a big winner, receiving $269 million in fiscal 2019, up $4 million from previous levels. Jean Chemnick, Scientific American, "2018 Budget A Mixed Bag for International Environmental Funding," 9 Apr. 2018 Cemeteries might be better urban nature preserves than parks, according to a new biodiversity study. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Graveyards Are Better for Animals Than Parks," 13 July 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'biodiversity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of biodiversity

1985, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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The first known use of biodiversity was in 1985

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English Language Learners Definition of biodiversity

: the existence of many different kinds of plants and animals in an environment


bio·​di·​ver·​si·​ty | \ˌbī-ō-də-ˈvər-sə-tē, -dī-\

Kids Definition of biodiversity

: the existence of many different kinds of plants and animals in an environment

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Spanish Central: Translation of biodiversity

Nglish: Translation of biodiversity for Spanish Speakers

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