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1. Literally, a species that is in danger of becoming extinct. Once an endangered species, these majestic creatures have made a great comeback with the help of preservation efforts.
2. By extension, something that is already very rare or could soon become rare. I worry that this type of work will soon be an endangered species if funding keeps getting cut.
the female of the species is more deadly than the male
proverb Women are dangerous. The phrase implies that women are more dangerous than men, likening them to animal species in which the female is more powerful or aggressive than the male. The phrase comes from Rudyard Kipling's 1911 poem, "The Female of the Species." Jane might look tiny, but she's a tough broad, and she brings that old saying to mind—the female of the species is more deadly than the male.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
female of the species is more deadly than the male
Prov. In many animal species, the female is poisonous and the male is not, and, by analogy, women are more dangerous than men. Bill: My old girlfriend's been threatening me ever since I broke up with her, but she's too small and weak to do me any harm. Fred: I'd be careful if I were you. The female of the species is more deadly than the male.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
A group threatened with extinction or destruction. For example, Workers willing to put in overtime without extra pay are an endangered species, or With the new budget cuts, public television has become an endangered species. This expression, originally referring to species of plants or animals in danger of dying out, began in the 1980s to be extended to anything or anyone becoming rare.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
an endangered species
If you describe something as an endangered species, you mean that there are not many of them left. Business class is in danger of becoming an endangered species, except on long flights. Bassoons, oboes and the big brass instruments are endangered species because children do not want to play them. Note: This expression comes from the literal meaning of a plant or animal that is likely to die out soon.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012