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From Latin specimen (mark, sign, example), from speciō (observe, watch), from Proto-Italic *spekjō, from Proto-Indo-European *spéḱyeti.


  • IPA(key)/ˈspɛsɪmɪn/


specimen (plural specimens or (extremely rare) specimina)

  1. An individual instance that represents a class; an example.
    early specimens of the art of Picasso
    1. (numismatics) A banknote printed for distribution to central banks to aid in the recognition of banknotes from a country other than their own
    2. (philately) A postage stamp sent to postmasters and postal administrations so that they are able to identify valid stamps and to avoid forgeries
  2. A sample, especially one used for diagnostic analysis.
  3. (humorous, often preceded with “fine”) An eligible man.
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