spe·​cial | \ ˈspe-shəl How to pronounce special (audio) \

Definition of special

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : distinguished by some unusual quality especially : being in some way superior our special blend
2 : held in particular esteem a special friend
3a : 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



Definition of special (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Other Words from special


specialness noun

Synonyms for special

Synonyms: Adjective

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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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Republican legislative leaders agreed to the special session after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. CBS News, 6 Aug. 2022 With its formal business finished for the year, the Legislature cannot override a gubernatorial veto outside calling a special session, a rarity on Beacon Hill. Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, 5 Aug. 2022 The Board of Supervisors will hold a special session Friday to appoint someone to serve out Ross's term, which runs through 2024. Robert Anglen, The Arizona Republic, 5 Aug. 2022 Batman fight crime alongside a bat-person of color would have been a special moment. David Betancourt, Washington Post, 3 Aug. 2022 Joiner and Etheredge have built a special relationship. Ben Thomas | Bthomas@al.com, al, 3 Aug. 2022 Legislators from the region have suggested a special session in the Kentucky legislature to help cities affected by flooding spend money from donations, Beshear said. Rae Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 3 Aug. 2022 Stern writes: [Missouri’s] ban has no explicit exception for ectopic pregnancies, which are nonviable and deadly if not terminated; Republican Gov. Mike Parsons has declined to call a special session to clarify this ambiguity. John Mccormack, National Review, 1 Aug. 2022 What other legislation is being proposed in the special session? Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, 1 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Teresa's wedding special is expected to air on Bravo next year, following the finale of RHONJ's 13th season. People Staff, Peoplemag, 7 Aug. 2022 Chris Stapleton and Carrie Underwood are among the artists chosen to celebrate the music of Vince Gill on a new CMT special. Jon Freeman, Rolling Stone, 5 Aug. 2022 Ultimately, those who max out this special can make a strong move forward with a winning wager. Xl Media, cleveland, 4 Aug. 2022 The full CMA Fest special is available to watch on Hulu, YouTubeTV, fuboTV, and DirectTV streaming. Maggie Horton, Country Living, 4 Aug. 2022 Peacock also aired a holiday special related to the daytime drama. Lillian Rizzo, WSJ, 4 Aug. 2022 Never Emmy-nominated during his lifetime, Macdonald is also up for co-directing and writing the special. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Aug. 2022 Silos Baking Competition aired as a one-hour special on Magnolia Network and Food Network on Sunday. People Staff, PEOPLE.com, 2 Aug. 2022 There came a time, for some reason, that Netflix wasn’t going to offer a special to me. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 1 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'special.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of special


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1822, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for special


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

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Time Traveler for special

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

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Dictionary Entries Near special



special ability

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Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Special.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/special. Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for special


spe·​cial | \ ˈspe-shəl How to pronounce special (audio) \

Kids Definition of special

1 : 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
2 : liked very well a special friend
3 : different from others : unique a special case
4 : extra entry 1 a special edition
5 : meant for a particular purpose or occasion a special diet

Other Words from special

specially adverb



Legal Definition of special

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
3a : 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

Other Words from special

specially adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on special

Nglish: Translation of special for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of special for Arabic Speakers


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