Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An individual, item, or part representative of a class, genus, or whole. See Synonyms at example.
  • n. A sample, as of tissue, blood, or urine, used for analysis and diagnosis.
  • n. Informal An individual; a person: a disagreeable specimen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An individual instance that represents a class; an example.
  • n. A sample, especially one used for diagnostic analysis.
  • n. An eligible man.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A part, or small portion, of anything, or one of a number of things, intended to exhibit the kind and quality of the whole, or of what is not exhibited; a sample.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A part or an individual taken as exemplifying a whole mass or number: something that represents or illustrates all of its kind; an illustrative example: as, a collection of geological specimens; a wild specimen of the human or of the feline race; a specimen page of a book (a page shown as a specimen of what the whole is or is to be); a specimen copy of a medal.
  • n. In zoology and botany, an individual animal or plant, or some part of one, prepared and preserved for scientific examination; an example of a species or other group; a preparation: as, a specimen of natural history; a specimen of the dog or the rose. Abbreviated sp. and spec.
  • n. A typical individual; one serving as a specially striking or exaggerated example of the kind indicated.
  • n. Synonyms Specimen, Sample. A specimen is a part of a larger whole employed to exhibit the nature or kind of that of which it forms a part, without reference to the relative quality of individual portions; thus, a cabinet of mineralogical specimens exhibits the nature of the rocks from which they are broken. A sample is a part taken out of a quantity, and implies that the quality of the whole is to be judged by it, and not rarely that it is to be used as a standard for testing the goodness, genuineness, or purity of the whole, and the like. In many cases, however, the words are used indifferently. Sample is more often used in trade: as, a sample of cotton or coffee.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a bit of tissue or blood or urine that is taken for diagnostic purposes
  • n. an example regarded as typical of its class

Etymologies

Latin, example, from specere, to look at; see spek- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin specimen ("mark, sign, example"), from speciō ("observe, watch"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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