subspecies

noun

sub·​spe·​cies ˈsəb-ˌspē-shēz How to pronounce subspecies (audio)
-sēz
: a subdivision of a species: such as
a
: a category in biological classification that ranks immediately below a species and designates a population of a particular geographic region genetically distinguishable from other such populations of the same species and capable of interbreeding successfully with them where its range overlaps theirs
b
: a named subdivision (such as a race or variety) of a taxonomic species
c
: subgroup sense 1
a political subspecies
subspecific adjective

Examples of subspecies in a Sentence

There are two subspecies of bison in North America.
Recent Examples on the Web Several zebra species and giraffe subspecies are native to Kenya. Michelle Watson and Zoe Sottile, CNN, 18 Dec. 2022 Nearly 1,200 rare and endangered species and subspecies are represented. San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Oct. 2022 White tigers are not a separate species or subspecies of tiger. Riley Davis, Discover Magazine, 25 May 2022 Today, it is estimated there are more than 1 million of all subspecies flying across North America and eastern Siberia. Jake Frederico, The Arizona Republic, 2 Dec. 2022 Washington moose belong to a subspecies called Shiras moose. Vonnai Phair, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Dec. 2022 Gorillas fall into two species: western and eastern gorillas, each of which has two subspecies. Zoe Sottile, CNN, 12 Nov. 2022 Scientists, nature enthusiasts and that rare subspecies of humanity obsessed with spiders all come to witness something remarkable: hordes of fuzzy, fist-sized male tarantulas emerging from their burrows to scour the shortgrass prairie for mates. David Kelly, Los Angeles Times, 31 Oct. 2022 This subspecies called Sarada superba is only found on India's Chalkewadi plateau and is identifiable by its blue, orange and black throat. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'subspecies.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

New Latin

First Known Use

1681, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of subspecies was in 1681

Dictionary Entries Near subspecies

Cite this Entry

“Subspecies.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subspecies. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

subspecies

noun
sub·​spe·​cies ˈsəb-ˌspē-shēz How to pronounce subspecies (audio)
-sēz
: a category in biological classification that ranks just below a species and includes a physically recognizable and geographically separate group of individuals whose members can breed successfully with members of other subspecies of the same species where their ranges overlap
subspecific adjective

Medical Definition

subspecies

noun
sub·​spe·​cies ˈsəb-ˌspē-shēz, -sēz How to pronounce subspecies (audio)
: a subdivision of a species: as
a
: a category in biological classification that ranks immediately below a species and designates a population of a particular geographical region genetically distinguishable from other such populations of the same species and capable of interbreeding successfully with them where its range overlaps theirs
b
: a named subdivision (as a race or variety) of a species
subspecific adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on subspecies

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!