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 Each spring, summer, and fall − and even in the winter in some states − plants release tiny pollen grains to fertilize other plants of the same species. cleveland, 12 May 2022 Some of the largest value seafood species were once again New England staples, such as lobster, a fishery anchored in Maine, and sea scallops, many of which come to the docks in Massachusetts. Patrick Whittle, Anchorage Daily News, 12 May 2022 First of all, at least 25% of all species that live in the entire ocean spent part of their life in a coral reef. Joan Meiners, The Arizona Republic, 11 May 2022 Coral reefs are some of the most vibrant marine ecosystems on earth, and somewhere between a quarter and a third of all marine species rely on them at some point in their life cycle. Alexandra Meeks, CNN, 11 May 2022 The Los Angeles Audubon Society hosts in-depth tours about the diverse array of bird species that call the Greater Los Angeles area home. Maya Richard-craven, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2022 The loss of any species disrupts ecosystems and thus, potentially, our own lives. Liza Featherstone, The New Republic, 6 May 2022 After a successful inaugural event in 2021, the show’s second edition returns with a wide array of orchid species. Sara Butler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 May 2022 In your free time, hike amid rugged cliffs and sharp ridges, soak in hot springs and spot wildlife — namely, 3,000-plus pronghorn antelope, along with sage grouse, bighorn sheep and hundreds of other species. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 Where their impact may have far wider implications is in making cross-species organ donation go mainstream. Megan Molteni, STAT, 24 Jan. 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

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Species.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/species. Accessed 23 May. 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"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!