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

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 Clements also deposited a permanent specimen of the fungus to the University of Arizona’s Mycological Herbarium. Kimi Robinson, The Arizona Republic, 19 Apr. 2022 Using microscopic lenses, Biss photographed each specimen by focusing on segments, before stitching together up to 8,000 different photographs to create each image. CNN, 25 Apr. 2022 The biggest specimen researchers collected was 5.1 inches in diameter, one of the largest in the genus. Sarah Parvinistaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 25 Apr. 2022 Photographic pixel data were extracted by ‘deep learning’, an artificial intelligence technique for teaching computers to learn by example (like people do), from 1,500 individual locations on each specimen. Grrlscientist, Forbes, 24 Apr. 2022 In fact, Dodo specimen damage and loss was common in the 17th and 18th centuries. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, 21 Apr. 2022 Acceleration is so forceful that this shiny specimen feels capable of vaulting over Hoover Dam and skipping across Lake Mead in search of a mate. Derek Powell, Car and Driver, 21 Apr. 2022 Dowd’s specimen is the first that has been recorded in Arizona, and her finding helps scientists understand the species. Kimi Robinson, The Arizona Republic, 19 Apr. 2022 With rotation spots at a premium in the postseason, Kerr must decide whether to play Bjelica over Jonathan Kuminga — an athletic specimen who, at 19 years old, has emerged as one of the Warriors’ most exciting pieces. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near specimen



specimen plant

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Statistics for specimen

Last Updated

28 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Specimen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/specimen. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for specimen


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

More from Merriam-Webster on specimen

Nglish: Translation of specimen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of specimen for Arabic Speakers


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