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 This optimal use case requires bringing together a lab, specimen tracking software, digital scanners, viewing software, AI, expert pathologists, insurance contracts for reimbursement and supply chain capabilities. Yec, Forbes, "How The Patient-Centric Interdependence Model Is Revolutionizing Healthcare," 13 May 2021 If Medina Spirit’s second specimen also turns out to contain the drug, the colt would be stripped of its victory and Baffert would lose his record seventh win in the Run for the Roses, pending an appeal. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Medina Spirit favored without Bob Baffert in Preakness," 11 May 2021 On a recent afternoon, there were a handful of bikes on sale, including a solid-looking $300 road bike and an unusual $600 specimen with narrow tires and shocks on its front forks. BostonGlobe.com, "Shopping for a bike leaves some spinning their wheels," 2 May 2021 Burford holly is another good choice for a specimen plant or a hedge. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, "Why hollies are a great choice to replace freeze-damaged xylosma, oleander, boxwood, loquats, dwarf pittosporum and viburnum," 30 Apr. 2021 Even if done delicately, the dissection process destroys the structural integrity of the specimen researchers can't go back and inspect it again if needed, explains Ziegler to Hakai. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, "New Species of Dumbo Octopus Identified Using 3-D Imaging Techniques," 30 Apr. 2021 Now is also the time to trim back cotoneaster and caragana hedges and specimen plants. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Take these steps now in your yard so you’re ready for planting time," 29 Apr. 2021 For example, one full T. rex specimen, while spectacular, doesn’t explain what the whole species’ genetic information was like. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "In ‘Moon Landing of Genomics,’ Scientists Sequence Ancient DNA From Dirt," 20 Apr. 2021 The researchers also calculated that the neck of their specimen could lift prey weighing between 9 and 11 kilograms, roughly the size of a large turkey. Rodrigo Pérez Ortega, Science | AAAS, "This pterosaur supported its giant neck with bones built like bicycle wheels," 14 Apr. 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

16 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Specimen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/specimen. Accessed 16 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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