special

adjective
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

special

noun

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

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Other Words from special

Adjective

specialness noun

Synonyms for special

Synonyms: Adjective

alone, lone, one, one-off, only, singular, sole, solitary, sui generis, unique

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Adjective

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Cleaning your bathroom can wait until after watching Monday's Bachelorette reunion special. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "11 TV Shows and Movies to Watch While You Procrastinate Work This Week," 5 May 2019 Today, for example, Kate Middleton's stylist and personal assistant Natasha Archer received a special honor for her service. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton's Stylist Natasha Archer Just Received a Prestigious Honor from the Royal Family," 2 May 2019 Select retailers and etailers worldwide plan to offer special deals on select AMD products during the AMD50 promotional period beginning April 29 through June 8, 2019. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "AMD celebrates its 50th anniversary with blinged-out Ryzen 7 2700X and Radeon VII Gold Editions," 29 Apr. 2019 These are people who are in-the-know, and want to be a part of something special. Spencer Bailey, Town & Country, "Ian Schrager on His Latest Luxury Hotel: "Why Not Times Square?"," 16 Apr. 2019 And like any other fashion-loving child, North raided her mom's closet for something special to complete her outfit: a pair of strappy heels from an undisclosed designer. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "North West Borrowed Kim Kardashian's High Heels at True Thompson's Birthday Party," 16 Apr. 2019 Acer The ConceptD 5, starting at $1,699, pulls something special out of its hat: Intel’s Core i7-8705G, a processing partnership that incorporates AMD’s Radeon RX Vega M GL. Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld, "Sorry, gamers: Acer's ConceptD PCs are powerful, quiet, and cool, but made for creators," 12 Apr. 2019 In a region where Champagne reigns supreme, there’s something undeniably special about a wellness retreat surrounded by vineyard views. Samantha Tse, Allure, "I Went to the Champagne Region in France to Get a Facial and My Skin Has Never Looked Better," 26 Mar. 2019 Fender is really offering something special with their new Acoustasonic, a hybrid electric/acoustic guitar several years in the making. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "Fender's 'Acoustasonic' Is a True Acoustic-Electric Hybrid Guitar," 22 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There's original programming like Kevin Hart's new comedy special, Irresponsible; Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 2; Unicorn Store, a new movie starring Brie Larson; and The Perfect Date, a new rom-com with Noah Centineo and Camila Mendes. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Leaving Netflix in April 2019: Get Your Sex and the City Movie Fix Now," 19 Mar. 2019 A month before the royal wedding, King hosted the television special Meghan Markle: An American Princess on CBS, which chronicled the new duchess' life–from grade school to her time on Suits–leading up to her stunning nuptials to Prince Harry. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Gayle King's Friendship: Everything We Know," 21 Feb. 2019 Two additional Christmas specials are also slated for the series. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Everything We Know So Far About Call The Midwife Season 9," 31 Mar. 2019 She's also put her producer chops to work for Hallmark for both movies and television specials. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "Candace Cameron Bure's Net Worth Proves There's Nothing the 'Fuller House' Star Can't Do," 19 Mar. 2019 Travelers can sometimes score discounted deals or specials the airlines periodically issue. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Here's the Best Time to Book Your Summer Travel," 27 Feb. 2019 At Atrium in Dumbo, the list of Thanksgiving specials draws from both the seasonally appropriate and the locally available. Marley Marius, Vogue, "Where to Dine Out for a Traditional-ish Thanksgiving Meal in New York City," 14 Nov. 2018 The first of a series of such interactive specials will launch before the end of the year, Bloomberg reports, and the effort will include at least one episode of the popular sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Report: Netflix to offer “choose-your-own-adventure” TV series," 2 Oct. 2018 One of the specials from the king himself, Steve Jobs. Dani Deahl, The Verge, "What’s In Your Bag, Peking Duk?," 27 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of special

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1822, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for special

Adjective

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

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Statistics for special

Last Updated

8 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for special

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

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More Definitions for special

special

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of special

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

special

noun

English Language Learners Definition of special (Entry 2 of 2)

: a television or radio program that is not part of a regular series
: a meal that is not on a restaurant's usual menu

special

adjective
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

special

adjective
spe·​cial

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on special

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for special

Spanish Central: Translation of special

Nglish: Translation of special for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of special for Arabic Speakers

Comments on special

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