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

For months, Sir John, aka Beyoncé's makeup artist, has been teasing something special. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "The Lion King Is Getting Its Very Own Makeup Collection," 1 June 2019 Another way to celebrate your town and provide something special is to provide them with a stack of postcards and a roll of stamps. Sara-mae Albert, ELLE Decor, "How to Be the Ultimate Weekend Host for Out-of-Town Guests," 15 May 2019 Five-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton wanted to do something special for Harry Shaw, a terminally ill five-year-old boy who Hamilton said inspired him to his win at the Spanish Grand Prix on May 12. Rich Ceppos, Car and Driver, "Formula 1 Champ Lewis Hamilton Sends His Race Car to Terminally Ill Five-Year-Old Fan Harry Shaw," 14 May 2019 Every Bentley built in 2019 gets special badging and gold trim, too. Daniel Golson, Car and Driver, "Bentley's Coffee-Table Book Costs Over $250,000 and Is Covered in Diamonds," 17 May 2019 The base even has a special web page advising Marines and dependents not to feed local wildlife, not only to avoid disrupting the balance of nature but attracting animals that could become a hazard to air operations onto the base. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The F-35 Runs Into Another Expensive Problem: Birds," 15 May 2019 Arriving at Oxford Children's Hospital, where the prince will meet with young patients and their parents, Harry was presented with an extra special gift intended for baby Archie. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry Was Given the Cutest Teddy Bear for Baby Archie by a Young Fan in Oxford," 14 May 2019 But Bachelor Nation was the most excited/irritated/enraged by a very special contestant by the name of John Paul Jones, who works at... Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "All the Very Best Reactions to 'Bachelorette' Contestant John Paul Jones on Twitter," 14 May 2019 She was first introduced in season 6, but from the looks of it, she and her mom Stacey aren’t given any special treatment in Resurrection. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "Everything We Know About 'Dance Moms' Season 8," 14 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Rose will be making her debut in the role this December, during a TV special that melds multiple CW superhero shows, including Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Ruby Rose Has Been Cast As Batwoman, the First Openly Gay TV Superhero," 7 Aug. 2018 Golf Magazine reports the two, once enemies and now friends, nearly played the ‘giggle golf’ game on July 3, but negotiations for the match (and its accompanying prime-time special), couldn’t be completed in that time. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson Will Face Off in a $10 Million, One-on-One Match," 6 July 2018 The Decision,’’ an hour-long TV special hosted by sportscaster Jim Gray. Josh Peter, USA TODAY, "LeBron James' soft touch on Lakers move befitting of mature superstar," 1 July 2018 Such a momentous year would have sparked a flurry of anniversary books, articles, and TV specials under any circumstance. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "How the chaos of 1968 set the stage for a President Donald Trump | Will Bunch," 24 May 2018 Four years after the incident, Harding apologized to Kerrigan during an awkward TV special called Breaking the Ice, but the two aren't exactly friends these days. Maura Sullivan Hill, Cosmopolitan, "10 of the Biggest Figure Skating Controversies of All Time," 7 Feb. 2018 The company began sponsoring TV specials in the '50s (an early version of the Hallmark Hall of Fame, which has since expanded to Crown Media, with the cable networks Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries). Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "The Fascinating Story of How Hallmark Came to Be, More Than 100 Years Ago," 18 Dec. 2017 Also interviewed for the Oxygen special is Louise’s half-brother, Billy Lambert, the family’s neighbors as well as child trauma and law enforcement experts. Christine Pelisek, PEOPLE.com, "Sister of House of Horrors Mom Says They Were 'Trained to Keep Secrets' Growing Up," 16 Apr. 2018 Be sure to look for the seasonal specials, such as shaved ice in the summer and roasted sweet potatoes topped sweet milk ice cream in the winter. Bon Appetit, "Japanese Ice Ouca," 19 Mar. 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

5 Jun 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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