spec·​i·​men | \ ˈspes-mən How to pronounce specimen (audio) , ˈspe-sə- \

Definition of specimen

1a : an individual, item, or part considered typical of a group, class, or whole
b : a portion or quantity of material for use in testing, examination, or study a urine specimen
2a : something that obviously belongs to a particular category but is noticed by reason of an individual distinguishing characteristic
b : person, individual he's a tough specimen
3 : a plant grown for exhibition or in the open to display its full development specimen trees

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Choose the Right Synonym for specimen

instance, case, illustration, example, sample, specimen mean something that exhibits distinguishing characteristics in its category. instance applies to any individual person, act, or thing that may be offered to illustrate or explain. an instance of history repeating itself case is used to direct attention to a real or assumed occurrence or situation that is to be considered, studied, or dealt with. a case of mistaken identity illustration applies to an instance offered as a means of clarifying or illuminating a general statement. a telling illustration of Murphy's Law example applies to a typical, representative, or illustrative instance or case. a typical example of bureaucratic waste sample implies a part or unit taken at random from a larger whole and so presumed to be typical of its qualities. show us a sample of your work specimen applies to any example or sample whether representative or merely existent and available. one of the finest specimens of the jeweler's art

Examples of specimen in a Sentence

The church is a magnificent specimen of baroque architecture. Her dance partner is a superb physical specimen.
Recent Examples on the Web Researchers at the US Geological Survey will test the specimen to get a more exact idea of when the horse died, Bonde said. David Williams, CNN, "Ice Age fossil find turns Las Vegas couple's new pool into a dig site," 30 Apr. 2021 In 2019, the specimen used in the research study disappeared. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Extremely Rare Orchid Tricks Horny Beetles Into Carrying Its Pollen," 25 Mar. 2021 Currently, Curative bills health insurers $325 — $250 for the test and $75 to collect the specimen, according to the company’s website. Los Angeles Times, "COVID-19 turned a tiny start-up into a testing giant. But can its results be trusted?," 24 Mar. 2021 Despite taking a fork to the occasional specimen, Davis admired snakes, especially the endangered diamondback. Keith Mccafferty, Field & Stream, "F&S Classics: A Taste of Death," 16 Nov. 2020 The seven-day average positivity rate statewide for molecular tests, based on the date of test specimen collection, was 4.7% as of Sunday. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "Dallas County reports 13 coronavirus deaths, 502 cases," 19 Apr. 2021 Resende sticks to budget buys and free swaps, but some plant enthusiasts will shell out hundreds of dollars for a rare specimen. BostonGlobe.com, "How houseplant propagation kept some Bostonians well-rooted through the pandemic," 18 Apr. 2021 In one case in 2015, David Martill, a paleobiologist at the University of Portsmouth in England, dismissed questions about his team’s lack of collaboration with Brazilian researchers on a specimen found there. New York Times, "Decolonizing the Hunt for Dinosaurs and Other Fossils," 22 Mar. 2021 The first case of B.1.1.7 in Alaska was discovered in January involving someone infected in December, and the second was identified during sequencing completed over the weekend, from a specimen also collected in January. Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News, "Rare U.S. case of highly contagious COVID-19 variant from Brazil identified in Alaska," 24 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'specimen.' 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 specimen

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for specimen

Latin, from specere to look at, look — more at spy

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Time Traveler for specimen

Time Traveler

The first known use of specimen was in 1610

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Statistics for specimen

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Specimen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/specimen. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for specimen



English Language Learners Definition of specimen

: something (such as an animal or plant) collected as an example of a particular kind of thing
: a small amount or piece of something that can be tested or examined
: a notable example of something


spec·​i·​men | \ ˈspe-sə-mən How to pronounce specimen (audio) \

Kids Definition of specimen

1 : something collected as a sample or for examination
2 : a notable example of something The cathedral is a magnificent specimen of medieval architecture.
3 : an example of a type of person … the specimen of the British nobility present happened to be the most ordinary man of the party.— Louisa May Alcott, Little Women


spec·​i·​men | \ ˈspes-(ə-)mən How to pronounce specimen (audio) \

Medical Definition of specimen

1 : an individual, item, or part typical of a group, class, or whole
2 : a portion or quantity of material for use in testing, examination, or study a urine specimen

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