• Species


    • RP IPA: /ˈspiːʃiːz/
    • US IPA: /ˈspiːʃiːz/, /ˈspiːsiːz/


    From Latin speciēs ("appearance; quality"), from speciō ("see") + -iēs suffix signifying abstract noun.

    Full definition of species



    (plural species)
    1. A type or kind of thing.
      • Richard Holt Hutton (1826-1897)What is called spiritualism should, I think, be called a mental species of materialism.
      1. A group of plants or animals having similar appearance.
        This species of animal is unique to the area.
        • 2012-01, Donald Worster, A Drier and Hotter Future, Phoenix and Lubbock are both caught in severe drought, and it is going to get much worse. We may see many such dust storms in the decades ahead, along with species extinctions, radical disturbance of ecosystems, and intensified social conflict over land and water. Welcome to the Anthropocene, the epoch when humans have become a major geological and climatic force.
      2. (biology, taxonomy) A rank in the classification of organisms, below genus and above subspecies; a taxon at that rank.
        • 1859, Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species:Hence, in determining whether a form should be ranked as a species or a variety, the opinion of naturalists having sound judgment and wide experience seems the only guide to follow.
        • Schuster Hepaticae V|viiFirstly, I continue to base most species treatments on personally collected material, rather than on herbarium plants.
        • 2013, David Van Tassel, Lee DeHaan, Wild Plants to the Rescue, Plant breeding is always a numbers game....The wild species we use are rich in genetic variation, and individual plants are highly heterozygous and do not breed true. In addition, we are looking for rare alleles, so the more plants we try, the better.
      3. (mineralogy) A mineral with a unique chemical formula whose crystals belong to a unique crystallographic system.
      4. An image, an appearance, a spectacle.
        1. (obsolete) The image of something cast on a surface, or reflected from a surface, or refracted through a lens or telescope; a reflection.
          I cast the species of the Sun onto a sheet of paper through a telescope.
        2. Visible or perceptible presentation; appearance; something perceived.
          • John Dryden (1631-1700)Wit,...the faculty of imagination in the writer, which searches over all the memory for the species or ideas of those things which it designs to represent.
          • Isaac Newton (1642-1727)the species of the letters illuminated with indigo and violet
        3. A public spectacle or exhibition.
        4. (civil law) The form or shape given to materials; fashion or shape; form; figure.
        5. (Roman Catholicism) Either of the two elements of the Eucharist after they have been consecrated, so named because they retain the image of the bread and wine before their transubstantiation into the body and blood of Christ.
        6. Coin, or coined silver, gold, or other metal, used as a circulating medium; specie.
          • John Arbuthnot (1667-1735)There was, in the splendour of the Roman empire, a less quantity of current species in Europe than there is now.
        7. A component part of compound medicine; a simple.
        8. An officinal mixture or compound powder of any kind; especially, one used for making an aromatic tea or tisane; a tea mixture.

    Usage notes

    specie is a separate word that means coin money, not the singular version of species.

    (biology, taxonomy, rank in the classification of organisms) See species name.

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