Definition of specimen in English:


Line breaks: spe¦ci|men
Pronunciation: /ˈspɛsɪmɪn


  • 1An individual animal, plant, piece of a mineral, etc. used as an example of its species or type for scientific study or display: specimens of copper ore
    More example sentences
    • Another corner of the display showed zoological specimens, minerals and ores, and surgical instruments.
    • Its displays cover millions of specimens, including fossils, meteorites, mammals, plants, minerals, and insects.
    • Ray then spent thirteen years travelling around Britain and Europe collecting specimens and studying animals.
  • 1.1An example of something regarded as typical of its class or group: [as modifier]: a specimen paper of the new test
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    • The question in the specimen paper required the students to discuss the social criticism in The Big Sleep and other texts.
    • Fill out a specimen ballot paper in your constituency.
  • 1.2A sample for medical testing, especially of urine.
    More example sentences
    • Are there any medical reasons why a specimen of blood cannot or should not be taken by a doctor?
    • They will report on the foods they eat and give biological specimens for testing.
    • Urine specimens had been obtained and tested by the nursing staff.
    sample, example, bit, snippet, illustration, demonstration, exemplification, instance, selection, representative piece; model, prototype, pattern, dummy, swatch, test piece, pilot, trailer, trial, indication, foretaste, taste, taster, tester, smear
    archaic scantling
  • 2 informal Used to refer humorously to a person or animal: Carla could not help feeling a degree of reluctant admiration for this odd female specimen
    More example sentences
    • She was born a perfect female specimen.
    • She was the most perfect female specimen in the whole damn world.
    • I've known most of the world's most perfect physical specimens over the course of the last 30 years.


early 17th century (in the sense 'pattern, model'): from Latin, from specere 'to look'.

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