bio·​di·​ver·​si·​ty | \ ˌbī-(ˌ)ō-də-ˈvər-sə-tē How to pronounce biodiversity (audio) , -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 How to pronounce biodiversity (audio) , -​də-​ \ 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 In the post-Brexit world of free-trade deals, British farmers will not be able to compete because the British landscape doesn’t allow for large-scale or intensive agriculture without grave damage to its remaining biodiversity. Washington Post, 28 Aug. 2021 This forest is particularly well-known for its excellent biodiversity, with 3,000 species of plants and over 100 different mammal species, 400 types of birds, and thousands of insect species. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, 21 Aug. 2021 According to the study, the cities retained most of their native biodiversity. Janet Marinelli, Wired, 24 July 2021 The southern part of Madagascar, a lush, largely tropical island famous for its biodiversity, has experienced below average rainfall for the past five years. Aryn Baker, Time, 20 July 2021 Cocos and the Galapagos attract visitors thanks to their rich biodiversity and preserving iconic sea life could protect the tourism sector. Nell Lewis, CNN, 13 July 2021 Mongolia has 21 provinces and states, each with its own biodiversity and uniqueness that directly impacts the goats and the quality of the cashmere. Joanne Shurvell, Forbes, 15 June 2021 But many researchers suspect tropical rainforests, with their staggering biodiversity, are the most likely cradle of dangerous new pathogens. Daniel Grossman, Science | AAAS, 29 Apr. 2021 Bivalve farming also doesn’t compromise its habitat: In fact, the presence of shellfish like scallops, mussels and oysters actively improves it by filtering the water and increasing biodiversity. New York Times, 23 Aug. 2021

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

History and Etymology for biodiversity

bio- + diversity

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Time Traveler for biodiversity

Time Traveler

The first known use of biodiversity was in 1985

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Statistics for biodiversity

Last Updated

9 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Biodiversity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for biodiversity



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 How to pronounce biodiversity (audio) , -dī- \

Kids Definition of biodiversity

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

More from Merriam-Webster on biodiversity

Nglish: Translation of biodiversity for Spanish Speakers


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