A specimen is a sample of something, like a specimen of blood or body tissue that is taken for medical testing.

The noun specimen comes from the Latin word specere, meaning “to look.” Biologists collect specimens so they can get a better look at something to study it. The idea is that, with a good specimen, you can learn about an entire group: it's a good representation. That meaning is echoed in the slang use of specimen, a strong, healthy and attractive person.

Definitions of specimen

n a bit of tissue or blood or urine that is taken for diagnostic purposes

“they collected a urine specimen for urinalysis”
cytologic specimen
a specimen used for cytologic examination and diagnosis
cytologic smear, cytosmear, smear
a thin tissue or blood sample spread on a glass slide and stained for cytologic examination and diagnosis under a microscope
Type of:
all or part of a natural object that is collected and preserved as an example of its class

n an example regarded as typical of its class

Type of:
example, illustration, instance, representative
an item of information that is typical of a class or group

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