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  1. a part or an individual taken as exemplifying a whole mass or number; a typical animal, plant, mineral, part, etc.
  2. (in medicine, microbiology, etc.) a sample of a substance or material for examination or study: a urine specimen; a tissue specimen.
  3. a particular or peculiar kind of person.
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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


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1. See example.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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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
  1. med a sample of tissue, blood, urine, etc, taken for diagnostic examination or evaluation
  2. the whole or a part of an organism, plant, rock, etc, collected and preserved as an example of its class, species, etc
  3. informal, often derogatory a person
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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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

specimen in Medicine


  1. A sample, as of tissue, blood, or urine, used for analysis and diagnosis.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.