[ spee-shee-ziz-uh m, -see-ziz- ]
/ ˈspi ʃiˌzɪz əm, -siˌzɪz- /


discrimination in favor of one species, usually the human species, over another, especially in the exploitation or mistreatment of animals by humans.
Sometimes spe·cism [spee-siz-uh m] /ˈspi sɪz əm/.

Origin of speciesism

First recorded in 1970–75; species + -ism
Related formsspe·cies·ist, spe·cist, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for speciesism


/ (ˈspiːʃiːzˌɪzəm) /


a belief of humans that all other species of animals are inferior and may therefore be used for human benefit without regard to the suffering inflicted
Derived Formsspeciesist, adjective

Word Origin for speciesism

C20: from species + -ism
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

Word Origin and History for speciesism



"discrimination against certain animals based on assumption of human superiority," first attested 1975 in Richard D. Ryder's "Victims of Science," from species + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper