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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from biodiversity

biodiverse \ ˌbī-​(ˌ)ō-​dī-​ˈvərs How to pronounce biodiverse (audio) , -​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

But Lisa Taylor, an arachnologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville, says the comb spider evidence provides striking insight into the future of biodiversity as climate change worsens and tropical storms become more frequent. Kelly Mayes, Science | AAAS, "Tropical storms are making these spiders more aggressive," 19 Aug. 2019 In May, a major United Nations report on biodiversity found that climate change—along with other, related forms of environmental degradation—threatens a million more species with extinction, many within a few decades. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "The Trump Administration Finds a New Target: Endangered Species," 16 Aug. 2019 Oil palm is the most productive of all oil yielding crops so replacing it with another would only displace biodiversity loss. Kelli Bender,, "School for Orphaned Baby Orangutans Helps the Young Primates Grow Up and Graduate to the Wild," 1 Aug. 2019 Even more so, an old-growth redwood forest supports more biodiversity, sequesters more carbon and has more regenerative properties than younger forests. NBC News, "Cloning giant redwoods could help combat climate change," 28 July 2019 Reuters/Bruno Kelly The Amazon is also a biodiversity hotspot, and includes the most biodiverse place on Earth, making its preservation a matter of slowing down plant and animal extinctions, too. Zoë Schlanger, Quartz, "Amazon deforestation is accelerating under Bolsonaro, and scientists fear a tipping point," 27 July 2019 Plastic pollution is hard to miss, but its effects are small compared with global warming or biodiversity loss. The Economist, "Ever more countries are banning plastic bags," 24 July 2019 Welcome to the new India: hot and desiccated and wet and flooded, all at once, with the fates of 1.3 billion people and rich biodiversity hotspots riding upon increasingly unpredictable rains. National Geographic, "India’s water crisis could be helped by better building, planning," 15 July 2019 Their declaration urges governments to reverse biodiversity loss and reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2030. Richard Smirke, Billboard, "'We Must Act Quickly': British Music Biz Declares Climate Emergency," 12 July 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of biodiversity

1985, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about biodiversity

Listen to Our Podcast about biodiversity

Statistics for biodiversity

Last Updated

22 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for biodiversity

The first known use of biodiversity was in 1985

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Spanish Central: Translation of biodiversity

Nglish: Translation of biodiversity for Spanish Speakers

Comments on biodiversity

What made you want to look up biodiversity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not constant or steady

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!