Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


1. animals, birds, and plants that live in natural conditions
2. relating to wildlife

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun wildlife was was first recorded in the late 19th century. It was originally written as two separate words or hyphenated, especially when used attributively, but the closed form is now the standard one.


March 3 is World Wildlife Day, a UN-sponsored celebration of the world’s wild plants and animals. The day has been celebrated since 2015 and the date was chosen to commemorate the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (commonly known as CITES) in 1973. The theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day is ‘Sustaining all life on earth’, with a focus on all wild animal and plant species as key components of the world’s biodiversity. In view of the catastrophic impact on the wildlife of the affected areas of recent events such as the Australian and Californian wildfires, the message that wildlife must be valued and protected could hardly be more important or timely.


“When I arrived on the planet, there were only two billion. Wildlife was more abundant, we were less so; now the situation is reversed.”
(Silvia Earle, marine biologist)

Related words

fauna, flora, rewilding, wildlife corridor

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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