Definition of specimen in English:



  • 1An individual animal, plant, piece of a mineral, etc., used as an example of its species or type for scientific study or display.

    • ‘From April onwards, we potter about outside, spotting gaps where we might plant another beautiful specimen,’
    • ‘Borack shows the specific cases holding mammals, birds, paleontological specimens, fish and reptiles.’
    • ‘Another corner of the display showed zoological specimens, minerals and ores, and surgical instruments.’
    • ‘Studying specimens in the field may be limited due to time, budget, and weather constraints and making review difficult.’
    • ‘The animal remains seem to represent only dissection material and were not used as specimens for display.’
    • ‘Scientists use these reference specimens to help identify and characterize agriculturally important fungi.’
    • ‘The expected value of analysing a single plant specimen, is the expected revenue less the costs.’
    • ‘The glazed shelves lining the walls were designed to house Alexander's mineralogical specimens and books devoted to the subject.’
    • ‘Its displays cover millions of specimens, including fossils, meteorites, mammals, plants, minerals, and insects.’
    • ‘Ray then spent thirteen years travelling around Britain and Europe collecting specimens and studying animals.’
    • ‘He ventures above ground into wintertime Philadelphia to collect animal specimens.’
    • ‘Their work has brought them into contact with some macabre, yet scientifically fascinating, specimens.’
    1. 1.1 An example of something such as a product or piece of work, regarded as typical of its class or group.
      • ‘The question in the specimen paper required the students to discuss the social criticism in The Big Sleep and other texts.’
      • ‘Fill out a specimen ballot paper in your constituency.’
    2. 1.2 A sample for medical testing, especially of urine.
      • ‘Specimens of blood or urine are the alternatives…’
      • ‘The volunteers gave blood and urine specimens at each lab visit.’
      • ‘A few test specimens might well be arriving at the lab in the next few weeks.’
      • ‘They will report on the foods they eat and give biological specimens for testing.’
      • ‘I require you to provide a specimen of breath for a breath test.’
      • ‘The police officers required the respondent to provide a specimen of breath for a roadside breath test.’
      • ‘Are there any medical reasons why a specimen of blood cannot or should not be taken by a doctor?’
      • ‘Urine specimens had been obtained and tested by the nursing staff.’
      • ‘Sperm banks arose to store indefinitely thousands of specimens in a single location.’
      • ‘Miss Rossiter provided a specimen of urine to the surgery for analysis.’
      • ‘He took a blood specimen from the appellant and the specimen was divided into two samples.’
      sample, example, bit, snippet, illustration, demonstration, exemplification, instance, selection, representative piece
      model, prototype, pattern, dummy, swatch, test piece, pilot, trailer, trial, indication, foretaste, taste, taster, tester, smear
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3informal Used to refer humorously to a person or animal.
      ‘in her he found himself confronted by a sorrier specimen than himself’
      • ‘They had to be perfect physical specimens able to handle enormous amounts of stress.’
      • ‘Too bad he is a member of the Underground Society, but he is still a perfect male specimen!’
      • ‘She was the perfect specimen: thin arms, long legs, pouty lips.’
      • ‘I remember thinking he was the most perfect specimen I've ever seen.’
      • ‘My best guy friend was definitely not what you would call the ideal male specimen.’
      • ‘With Bianca's perfect figure, every single male specimen was bewitched by her.’
      • ‘Out of the doorway came the most perfect specimen of male youth I had ever seen out.’
      • ‘I was never a perfect specimen of boyhood and always got chosen last or next to last.’
      • ‘She was born a perfect female specimen.’
      • ‘He was like the perfect specimen of man… but he wasn't perfect for me.’
      • ‘Critics were perplexed by this seemingly perfect specimen, and swiftly termed her bland and banal.’
      • ‘He's a perfect American specimen.’
      • ‘Why I chose to surround myself with perfect specimens I do not know.’
      • ‘I've known most of the world's most perfect physical specimens over the course of the last 30 years.’
      • ‘She was the most perfect female specimen in the whole damn world.’
      • ‘The blurry embodiment of a male specimen was making his way towards Audrae now.’
      • ‘You embody the perfect friend, the perfect companion, the perfect physical specimen.’
      • ‘I just think it's weird that after going out with the finest specimen that the female race has to offer you can settle for less.’
      • ‘It took me a second to home in on that perfect specimen of manly-buffness.’
      • ‘Here's another female specimen who's in love with him.’


Early 17th century (in the sense pattern, model): from Latin, from specere to look.