special

adjective
spe·cial | \ˈspe-shəl \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from special

Adjective

specialness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for special

Synonyms: Adjective

beloved, cherished, darling, dear, fair-haired, favored, favorite, fond, loved, pet, precious, sweet, white-haired

Antonyms: Adjective

unbeloved

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for special

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Loukoumades, which date back to ancient Greece, are made on special occasions. Gloria Casas, Elgin Courier-News, "Saint Sophia’s Greek Fest shares sounds, tastes and feel of Greece at Elgin church," 14 July 2018 This year is special because Saint Sophia is marking a major milestone. Gloria Casas, Elgin Courier-News, "Saint Sophia’s Greek Fest shares sounds, tastes and feel of Greece at Elgin church," 14 July 2018 Drake's baby sister has the condition, so that game will be even more special to him. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "3-year-old boy sings national anthem at minor league baseball game, hits it out of the park," 13 July 2018 Even next to Alabama’s other great defenses of the past decade, this unit was special. Ben Ladner, SI.com, "The 10 Best National Championship Game Performances of the BCS Era," 13 July 2018 Steel pans are the decorations that matter most, though — steel pans filled with lamb vindaloo that needed no special instructions to bring the heat, roiling with chile heat over tender cubes of lamb that soaked up the buttery sauce. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: India Oven brings the heat on West Avenue," 12 July 2018 This week in Patrick Rodgers’ life is very special. Garrett Johnson, Indianapolis Star, "A year after near-miss, Patrick Rodgers returns to John Deere Classic eyeing life-changing PGA Tour win," 11 July 2018 The DogPatch visit is particularly special for Meghan, who is making sure to weave her feminist values into her royal duties. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Matching (and Very Cute) in Ireland," 10 July 2018 That view has particular relevance as special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign played any role in a foreign interference plot. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "Trump picks Kavanaugh for court, setting up fight with Dems," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Two of their event spaces are currently running specials. Lisa Beebe, Los Angeles Magazine, "Wolfgang Puck Catering’s Summer Menu Offers a Taste of Paradise," 26 June 2018 So Amer was thrilled when HBO made an offer for his show; HBO had produced specials for several of his heroes. Andrew Dansby, San Antonio Express-News, "Houston comedian Mo Amer has poetry in his blood, and a Netflix special coming up," 26 June 2018 In addition to lunch and dinner hours, expect late-night specials Wednesday-Saturday nights. Kathleen Purvis, charlotteobserver, "Restaurant with an Asian street-food menu is coming to Charlotte," 25 June 2018 La Familia will continue to add dishes, Mariela said, advertising new plates and specials on its Facebook page. Leeanne Griffin, courant.com, "La Familia Brings Authentic Bolivian Food To Canton," 25 June 2018 The Fresh dayboat scallops elote summer special is available at all Bonefish Grill locations until Sept. 17. Claire Perez, Sun-Sentinel.com, "At Bonefish Grill, summer corn calls for scallops," 13 July 2018 But the news special was ABC’s strongest performer. Hal Boedeker, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'America's Got Talent' has ratings bigger than last week's best," 11 July 2018 The marker is absent today on the show's 40th anniversary, but a comeback special is in the works. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "Elvis Presley plaque is coming back to Indianapolis on 41st anniversary of final concert," 22 June 2018 Prime rib specials are $22.95 and $25.95 on Saturdays. Shonda Talerico Dudlicek, Lake County News-Sun, "Bon Voyage restaurant is realization of longtime dream of Antioch owners," 18 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about special

Statistics for special

Last Updated

25 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for special

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up special? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!