noun spec·i·men \ˈspes-mən, ˈspe-sə-\

: 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

Full Definition of SPECIMEN

a :  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>
a :  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>
:  a plant grown for exhibition or in the open to display its full development <specimen trees>

Origin of SPECIMEN

Latin, from specere to look at, look — more at spy
First Known Use: 1610

Synonym Discussion of 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>.

Other Biology Terms

autochthonous, fecund, homunculus, phylogeny, substrate
SPECIMEN Defined for Kids


noun spec·i·men \ˈspe-sə-mən\

Definition of SPECIMEN for Kids

:  something collected as a sample or for examination
:  a notable example of something <The cathedral is a magnificent specimen of medieval architecture.>
:  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>

Word Root of SPECIMEN

The Latin word specere, meaning to look or to look at, gives us the roots spec, spic, and spect. Words from the Latin specere have something to do with looking or watching. A spectator is a person who watches something, such as a sports event. Anything conspicuous is easy to see. To inspect is to look very closely at all parts of something. A specimen, or sample, is one example or one part that can show what the rest look like.
Medical Dictionary


noun spec·i·men \ˈspes-(ə-)mən\

Medical Definition of SPECIMEN

:  an individual, item, or part typical of a group, class, or whole
:  a portion or quantity of material for use in testing, examination, or study <a urine specimen>


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