Synonym Chooser

How is the word specimen distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of specimen are case, example, illustration, instance, and sample. While all these words mean "something that exhibits distinguishing characteristics in its category," specimen applies to any example or sample whether representative or merely existent and available.

one of the finest specimens of the jeweler's art

When could case be used to replace specimen?

While in some cases nearly identical to specimen, 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

When would example be a good substitute for specimen?

The words example and specimen can be used in similar contexts, but example applies to a typical, representative, or illustrative instance or case.

a typical example of bureaucratic waste

In what contexts can illustration take the place of specimen?

In some situations, the words illustration and specimen are roughly equivalent. However, illustration applies to an instance offered as a means of clarifying or illuminating a general statement.

a telling illustration of Murphy's Law

When can instance be used instead of specimen?

The meanings of instance and specimen largely overlap; however, instance applies to any individual person, act, or thing that may be offered to illustrate or explain.

an instance of history repeating itself

Where would sample be a reasonable alternative to specimen?

Although the words sample and specimen have much in common, 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

Thesaurus Entries Near specimen

Cite this Entry

“Specimen.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/specimen. Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

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