[suhb-spee-sheez, suhb-spee-]

noun, plural sub·spe·cies.

a subdivision of a species, especially a geographical or ecological subdivision.

Origin of subspecies

First recorded in 1690–1700; sub- + species Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for subspecies

Contemporary Examples of subspecies

  • High office for a Hollywood (or some subspecies of) celebrity is not as outlandish as it once was—say, five or 10 minutes ago.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Val Kilmer for Governor?

    Lloyd Grove

    May 11, 2009

Historical Examples of subspecies

British Dictionary definitions for subspecies


noun plural -cies

biology a taxonomic group that is a subdivision of a species: usually occurs because of isolation within a speciesAbbreviation: ssp
Derived Formssubspecific (ˌsʌbspɪˈsɪfɪk), adjectivesubspecifically, adverb
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 subspecies

1690s, from sub- + species.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

subspecies in Science


[sŭbspē′shēz, -sēz]

A subdivision of a species of organisms, usually based on geographic distribution. The subspecies name is written in lowercase italics following the species name. For example, Gorilla gorilla gorilla is the western lowland gorilla, and Gorilla gorilla graueri is the eastern lowland gorilla.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.