adjective spe·cial \ˈspe-shəl\

: different from what is normal or usual; especially : unusual in a good way : better or more important than others

: especially important or loved

: more than is usual

Full Definition of SPECIAL

:  distinguished by some unusual quality; especially :  being in some way superior <our special blend>
:  held in particular esteem <a special friend>
a :  readily distinguishable from others of the same category :  unique <they set it apart as a special day of thanksgiving>
b :  of, relating to, or constituting a species :  specific
:  being other than the usual :  additional, extra
:  designed for a particular purpose or occasion
spe·cial·ness noun

Examples of SPECIAL

  1. This is a special case and I want you to handle it personally.
  2. Only under special circumstances will you be allowed to retake the test.
  3. Your many years of service put you in a special category.
  4. Why should you receive any special treatment?
  5. It takes a special quality to do what he did.
  6. This is a very special occasion.
  7. Are you doing anything special over the holidays?
  8. We have a special guest tonight—the mayor.
  9. No one is more special to me than my wife.
  10. He always made her feel special.

Origin of SPECIAL

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French especial, from Latin specialis individual, particular, from species species
First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of SPECIAL

special, especial, specific, particular, individual mean of or relating to one thing or class. special stresses having a quality, character, identity, or use of its own <special ingredients>. especial may add implications of preeminence or preference <a matter of especial importance>. specific implies a quality or character distinguishing a kind or a species <children with specific nutritional needs>. particular stresses the distinctness of something as an individual <a ballet step of particular difficulty>. individual implies unequivocal reference to one of a class or group <valued each individual opinion>.



: a television or radio program that is not part of a regular series

: a meal that is not on a restaurant's usual menu

Full Definition of SPECIAL

:  one that is used for a special service or occasion <caught the commuter special to work>
:  something (as a television program) that is not part of a regular series
:  a featured dish at a restaurant <the specials of the day>

Examples of SPECIAL

  1. a one-hour special on whales
  2. Today's lunch special is chili.
  3. The specials are on the board.
  4. They were having a special on paper towels so I stocked up.

First Known Use of SPECIAL


Other Broadcasting Terms

continuity, dissolve, fade, feed, remote, residual, spike, wipe
SPECIAL Defined for Kids


adjective spe·cial \ˈspe-shəl\

Definition of SPECIAL for Kids

:  unusual and better in some way :  extraordinary <a special occasion> <To an outsider, it wouldn't sound all that special. But to the ears of a Pickwell kid, it was magic. — Jerry Spinelli, Maniac Magee>
:  liked very well <a special friend>
:  different from others :  unique <a special case>
:  1extra <a special edition>
:  meant for a particular purpose or occasion <a special diet>
spe·cial·ly adverb
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