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 Because my gynecologist has mastered the art of warming the speculum. Kristen Mulrooney, The New Yorker, 11 Jan. 2022 Vaginismus is an automatic response, so Molly can’t relax her muscles when a gynecologist tries to insert a speculum. Laken Brooks, Forbes, 7 Nov. 2021 The current speculum had not been updated in a century and a half, according to its creator, Malene Hegenberger. CNN, 8 June 2021 Later, while helping to coordinate care for homeless women, Adams noticed the absence of even basic medical equipment such as a speculum. Alison Bowen, chicagotribune.com, 28 May 2021 The presence of a white bar border on the speculum (found on drake mallards) varies from bird-to-bird. Ryan Chelius, Outdoor Life, 1 Mar. 2021 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, 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, 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, 17 July 2019

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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Dictionary Entries Near speculum



speculum metal

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Statistics for speculum

Last Updated

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Speculum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/speculum. Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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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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