Definition of subspecies in English:


(also subsp., ssp.)


  • A taxonomic category that ranks below species, usually a fairly permanent geographically isolated race. Subspecies are designated by a Latin trinomial, e.g., (in zoology) "Ursus arctos horribilis" or (in botany) "Beta vulgaris" subsp. "crassa"

    Compare with form and variety
    • ‘You can have subspecies, but humans are clearly not a subspecies of chimp.’
    • ‘Should the subspecies be considered endangered, when the species itself is not?’
    • ‘At the time, it was thought that all the subspecies were separated geographically, at least on the breeding grounds if not entirely in winter.’
    • ‘Japan's Iriomote cat was recently demoted from a distinct species to an island subspecies of leopard cat.’
    • ‘For the data analysis, subspecies and varieties were treated as full species.’