special

1 of 2

adjective

spe·​cial ˈspe-shəl How to pronounce special (audio)
1
: distinguished by some unusual quality
especially : being in some way superior
our special blend
2
: held in particular esteem
a special friend
3
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
4
: being other than the usual : additional, extra
5
: designed for a particular purpose or occasion
specialness noun

special

2 of 2

noun

1
: one that is used for a special service or occasion
caught the commuter special to work
2
: something (such as a television program) that is not part of a regular series
3
: a featured dish at a restaurant
the specials of the day
Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of special in a Sentence

Adjective This is a special case and I want you to handle it personally. Only under special circumstances will you be allowed to retake the test. Your many years of service put you in a special category. Why should you receive any special treatment? It takes a special quality to do what he did. This is a very special occasion. Are you doing anything special over the holidays? We have a special guest tonight—the mayor. No one is more special to me than my wife. He always made her feel special. Noun a one-hour special on whales Today's lunch special is chili. The specials are on the board. They were having a special on paper towels so I stocked up.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The following interactive simulates what this will look like from any location in the U.S., no special glasses needed. Chris Wilson, TIME, 6 Apr. 2024 Morgan Wallen Claps Back at Ex-Managers and 'Dark Side of the Music Business' with 'Spin You Around' Re-Recording Wallen is making his live dates extra special this year by bringing along an A-list cast of rotating openers. Sadie Bell, Peoplemag, 6 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for special 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'special.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French especial, from Latin specialis individual, particular, from species species

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1822, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of special was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near special

Cite this Entry

“Special.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/special. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

special

1 of 2 adjective
spe·​cial ˈspesh-əl How to pronounce special (audio)
1
a
: being unusual and especially better in some way
a special occasion
b
: being very dear or liked very well
a special friend
2
: different from others of the same kind : unique
a special case
3
: being or having more than the usual : additional, extra
a special edition
4
: designed for a certain purpose or occasion
a special diet
specially
ˈspesh-(ə-)lē
adverb

special

2 of 2 noun
1
: one that is used for a special service or occasion
caught the commuter special to work
2
: something (as a television program) that is not part of a regular series
3
: a featured dish at a restaurant
the specials of the day

Legal Definition

special

adjective
spe·​cial
1
: distinguished by some unusual quality
2
: relating to a single thing or class of things : having an individual character or trait
owed them a special duty not owed to the public at large
3
a
: supplemental to the regular
b
: assigned or provided to meet a need not covered under established procedures
4
: designed or selected for a particular purpose, occasion, or other end
family courts are courts of limited and special jurisdictionCleveland v. Cleveland, 559 P.2d 744 (1977)
5
: containing particulars and details
a special pleading
specially adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on special

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