species

noun
spe·​cies | \ ˈspē-(ˌ)shēz How to pronounce species (audio) , -(ˌ)sēz \
plural species

Definition of species

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : kind, sort
b : a class of individuals having common attributes and designated by a common name specifically : a logical division of a genus or more comprehensive class confessing sins in species and in number
c : the human race : human beings often used with the survival of the species in the nuclear age
d(1) : a category of biological classification ranking immediately below the genus or subgenus, comprising related organisms or populations potentially capable of interbreeding, and being designated by a binomial that consists of the name of a genus followed by a Latin or latinized uncapitalized noun or adjective agreeing grammatically with the genus name
(2) : an individual or kind belonging to a biological species
e : a particular kind of atomic nucleus, atom, molecule, or ion
2 : the consecrated eucharistic elements of the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Eucharist
3a : a mental image also : a sensible object
b : an object of thought correlative with a natural object

species

adjective

Definition of species (Entry 2 of 2)

: belonging to a biological species as distinguished from a horticultural variety a species rose

Examples of species in a Sentence

Noun There are approximately 8,000 species of ants. All European domestic cattle belong to the same species. laws that protect endangered species
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The species can weigh more than 200 pounds and grow to more than 6 feet in length. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 18 June 2022 The show includes drawings of most of the 16 fern species McCrocklin has documented in Washington’s Dumbarton Oaks Park, a wilder area north of the estate’s formal gardens. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 17 June 2022 Captive Burmese pythons let loose by Hurricane Andrew's destruction in 1992 have flourished in the southern Florida ecosystem, decimating local species in the process. CBS News, 17 June 2022 Scientists are studying the pathways of contagion among species. New York Times, 17 June 2022 Valuable commercial fish species die off in staggering numbers; NOAA estimates the loss to the fishing industry and tourism is around $82 million a year. John Sabo, Forbes, 17 June 2022 Little blue penguins, a flightless bird native to New Zealand, are the world’s smallest penguin species. Dylan Butts, NBC News, 17 June 2022 So, and Leila: these are both species that are considered vulnerable by the international union for conservation of nature. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 17 June 2022 Of the 40 cat species worldwide, nearly half have melanistic or black color morphs. Nyeema C. Harris, Scientific American, 17 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective According to officials, this type of cross-species infection is uncommon. Daedan Olander, The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 June 2022 This is a call for cross-species solidarity and to consider veganism alongside other social justice movements on the left. Longreads, 5 May 2022 Researchers said not all viruses will spread to humans or become pandemics the scale of the coronavirus but the number of cross-species viruses increases the risk of spread to humans. Drew Costley, Chicago Tribune, 28 Apr. 2022 Researchers said not all viruses will spread to humans or become pandemics the scale of the coronavirus but the number of cross-species viruses increases the risk of spread to humans. NBC News, 28 Apr. 2022 The researchers suggest at least 15,000 new cross-species viral transmissions are forecast to happen by 2070, driven by climate change of 2-degrees Celsius, which is the worst-case scenario highlighted under the Paris Agreement. Byjulia Jacobo, ABC News, 28 Apr. 2022 Exactly why and how these inter-species kill rates balance out remains to be discovered. CBS News, 21 Feb. 2022 To curb this cross-species disease transfer, the International Union for Conservation of Nature issued a set of guidelines in 2015 for scientists, tourists and other people who might encounter great apes. New York Times, 21 Feb. 2022 The likely ancestral origin of OC43 is a bovine coronavirus; the nearest neighbor for 229E is a llama coronavirus; and the others probably arose as inter-species jumps from the vast global reservoir of bat coronaviruses. Donald S. Burke, STAT, 18 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of species

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1899, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for species

Noun

Middle English, from Latin, appearance, kind, species, from specere to look — more at spy

Learn More About species

Time Traveler for species

Time Traveler

The first known use of species was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near species

specie payment

species

species counterpoint

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for species

Last Updated

20 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Species.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/species. Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for species

species

noun
spe·​cies | \ ˈspē-shēz How to pronounce species (audio) , -sēz \
plural species

Kids Definition of species

1 : a group of similar living things that ranks below the genus in scientific classification and is made up of individuals able to produce offspring with one another The one-humped camel is a different species from the two-humped camel.
2 : a class of things of the same kind and with the same name : kind, sort

species

noun
spe·​cies | \ ˈspē-(ˌ)shēz How to pronounce species (audio) , -(ˌ)sēz How to pronounce species (audio) \
plural species

Medical Definition of species

1a : a category of biological classification ranking immediately below the genus or subgenus, comprising related organisms or populations potentially capable of interbreeding, and being designated by a binomial that consists of the name of the genus followed by a Latin or latinized uncapitalized noun or adjective agreeing grammatically with the genus name
b : an individual or kind belonging to a biological species
2 : a particular kind of atomic nucleus, atom, molecule, or ion production of DNA damage by active oxygen species

More from Merriam-Webster on species

Nglish: Translation of species for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of species for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about species

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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