Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[spes-uh-muh n] /ˈspɛs ə mən/
a part or an individual taken as exemplifying a whole mass or number; a typical animal, plant, mineral, part, etc.
(in medicine, microbiology, etc.) a sample of a substance or material for examination or study:
a urine specimen; a tissue specimen.
a particular or peculiar kind of person.
Origin of specimen
1600-10; < Latin: mark, example, indication, sign, equivalent to speci-, stem of specere to look, regard + -men noun suffix denoting result or means
1. type, model, pattern.
Synonym Study
1. See example. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for specimen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I find this specimen growing in a cspitose manner on decayed wood.

  • One would like to be favoured with a specimen of this kind of rural oratory.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • Soaking the specimen in the solution does not aid development and is actually undesirable as it requires a longer drying time.

    The Science of Fingerprints Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • The etholog personates a specimen of a class which helps to characterize a period.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • So I set a trap and next night had a specimen of the Squeaker as well as a couple of the omnipresent Deer-mice.

    Wild Animals at Home Ernest Thompson Seton
British Dictionary definitions for specimen


  1. an individual, object, or part regarded as typical of the group or class to which it belongs
  2. (as modifier): a specimen signature, a specimen page
(med) a sample of tissue, blood, urine, etc, taken for diagnostic examination or evaluation
the whole or a part of an organism, plant, rock, etc, collected and preserved as an example of its class, species, etc
(informal, often derogatory) a person
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: mark, evidence, proof, from specere to look at
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for specimen

1610s, "pattern, model," from Latin specimen "indication, mark, example, sign, evidence," from specere "to look at" (see scope (n.1)). Meaning "single thing regarded as typical of its kind" first recorded 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
specimen in Medicine

specimen spec·i·men (spěs'ə-mən)
A sample, as of tissue, blood, or urine, used for analysis and diagnosis.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for specimen

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for specimen

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for specimen