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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Many species spend large portions of their lives under and on the ground, where oblivious tourists can trample them. Ashley Stimpson, Wired, "Researchers Shed Light on the Perils of Firefly Tourism," 13 May 2021 Click here to find out more about species found in L.A. County. Los Angeles Times, "Where to find L.A.'s hidden cactus ranch and Asian-American landmarks," 13 May 2021 Bird fanciers can spot 60 different species and fish and sea urchins can be viewed in the Tide Pools. Laurie Werner, Forbes, "Ultimate Caribbean Seclusion: The Under The Radar, Newly Reopened Island Of Saba," 13 May 2021 Many resembled those found in nonindustrial gut samples today, including species associated with high-fiber diets. Andrew Curry, Science | AAAS, "Piles of ancient poop reveal “extinction event” in human gut bacteria," 12 May 2021 Retooled and redeemed, zoos compared themselves to modern arks—havens where species could be protected from the destruction of the outside world. Ben Crair, The New Yorker, "The Night the Zoo Burned," 11 May 2021 Development, livestock grazing and an invasive grass that encourages wildfires reduced the species population to fewer than 500,000. Matthew Brown, Star Tribune, "Mining ban considered to protect bird species in US West," 11 May 2021 In marine environments, such provisioning herds species — that would otherwise roam large swathes of the ocean alone — close together. New York Times, "The Price They Pay for Your Perfect Vacation Photo," 11 May 2021 Earlier this year, for example, scientists cloned an endangered U.S. species for the first time: a black-footed ferret whose donor has been dead for more than 30 years. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Russia Is Going to Try to Clone an Army of 3,000-Year-Old Scythian Warriors," 11 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Genes are typically transmitted vertically, from parents to offspring, and don’t involve inter-species crossover. Chris Smith, BGR, "A bug acquired the DNA of a toxic plant, and now it’s running rampant," 26 Mar. 2021 It will be added to the county’s future East County multi-species conservation plan area, part of a regional program launched in 1998 to manage conservation, recreation and agriculture while carving out areas designated for development. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego County to buy Star Ranch in Campo for conservation plan," 21 Mar. 2021 Now, new research finds that these maestros of impersonation sometimes reproduce the sounds of an entire multi-species flock while courting females and during mating, reports Jake Buehler for Science News. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Bird Mimics an Entire Flock to Woo Females," 3 Mar. 2021 Inter-species jumps of viruses make scientists nervous — as do suggestions of potentially significant mutations that result from those jumps. Helen Branswell, STAT, "Spread of mutated coronavirus in Danish mink ‘hits all the scary buttons,’ but fears may be overblown," 5 Nov. 2020 Another influential factor in cross-species transmission is probably proximity. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why the New Coronavirus Affects Some Animals, but Not Others," 20 Apr. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for species

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for species

Last Updated

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Species.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/species. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for species

species

noun

English Language Learners Definition of species

biology : a group of animals or plants that are similar and can produce young animals or plants : a group of related animals or plants that is smaller than a genus
: a particular group of things or people that belong together or have some shared quality

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

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