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From Latin speciēs (appearance; quality), from speciō (see) + -iēs suffix signifying abstract noun, from Proto-Italic *spekjō, from Proto-Indo-European *spéḱyeti,  Doublet of spice.


  • IPA(key)/ˈspiːʃiːz//ˈspiːsiːz/. Some speakers pronounce the singular with -ɪz, the plural with -iːz.


species (plural species or (rare, nonstandard) specieses)

  1. Type or kind.

    the male species

    a new species of war
    1. A group of plants or animals having a similar appearance.
      This species of animal is unique to the area.
    2. (biology, taxonomy) A category in the classification of organisms, ranking below genus; a taxon at that rank.
    3. (chemistry, physics) A particular type of atom, molecule, ion or other particle.
    4. (mineralogy) A mineral with a unique chemical formula whose crystals belong to a unique crystallographic system.
  2. 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.
    3. A public spectacle or exhibition.
  3. (Christianity) Either of the two elements of the Eucharist after they have been consecrated.
  4. Coin, or coined silver, gold, or other metal, used as a circulating medium; specie.
  5. A component part of compound medicine; a simple.
  6. An officinal mixture or compound powder of any kind; especially, one used for making an aromatic tea or tisane; a tea mixture.

Usage notes

  • species is its own plural; specie is a separate word that means coin money.
  • (biology, taxonomy): See species namebinomial nomenclature.
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