spec·​u·​lum | \ ˈspe-kyə-ləm How to pronounce speculum (audio) \
plural specula\ ˈspe-​kyə-​lə How to pronounce speculum (audio) \ also speculums

Definition of speculum

1 : an instrument inserted into a body passage especially to facilitate visual inspection or medication
2 : a drawing or table showing the relative positions of all the planets (as in an astrological nativity)
3 : a patch of color on the secondaries of most ducks and some other birds

Examples of speculum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Ducks will not have their plumage yet, so the best way to identify blue-wings is by the blue and white speculum feathers on their wings. Joe Genzel, Outdoor Life, "How to Hunt Ducks and Geese," 26 June 2020 Smith arrived at Jennifer’s farmhouse just after 10 P.M. on January 6th, carrying a birthing stool and her kit: antibiotics, oxygen, Pitocin, a speculum. Emily Bobrow, The New Yorker, "A Midwife in the North Country," 22 Dec. 2019 More: Lara Williams' 'Supper Club' is gluttonous, messy, nasty and loud — and unapologetic James Marion Sims (1813-1883) refined the speculum and is credited with making the first women’s hospital. Delfina V Barbiero, USA TODAY, "'Everything Below the Waist' tackles history, shortcomings of women's health care," 17 July 2019 Specifically, by grabbing a mirror and speculum and viewing their cervixes for the first time. Delfina V Barbiero, USA TODAY, "'Everything Below the Waist' tackles history, shortcomings of women's health care," 17 July 2019 Former colleagues had questioned his methods of pelvic exams, specifically, his practice of digital insertion before using a speculum. CBS News, "Ex-longtime USC gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall had gun when arrested on sex assault charges, police say," 27 June 2019 The good news is that speculums come in several different lengths and widths. Jessica Wakeman, SELF, "Ob/Gyns Share 11 Ways to Make a Pap Smear Easier on You and Your Vagina," 11 Jan. 2019 Once the speculum is in place, your doctor will use a swab to collect some cells from your cervix and send them to the lab. Kara Wahlgren, Seventeen, "Does A Pap Smear Hurt?!," 29 Jan. 2019 The speculum meant not touching with your hand, but with an object. Daniela Blei, The Atlantic, "Women Are Redesigning the Dreaded Speculum," 8 Mar. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for speculum

Middle English, from Latin, mirror, from specere

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Time Traveler for speculum

Time Traveler

The first known use of speculum was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Speculum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/speculum. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for speculum


spec·​u·​lum | \ ˈspek-yə-ləm How to pronounce speculum (audio) \
plural specula\ -​lə How to pronounce speculum (audio) \ also speculums

Medical Definition of speculum

: any of various instruments for insertion into a body passage to facilitate visual inspection or medication a vaginal speculum

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