spe·​cial·​ist | \ ˈspe-sh(ə-)list How to pronounce specialist (audio) \

Definition of specialist

1 : one who specializes in a particular occupation, practice, or field of study a specialist in disorders of the immune system a specialist in international law "What does Dr. James Mortimer, the man of science, ask of Sherlock Holmes, the specialist in crime?"— Arthur Conan Doyle
2 : an enlisted rank in the U.S. Army corresponding to the grade of corporal also : any of several former enlisted ranks corresponding to the grades of sergeant through sergeant major
3 : an organism (such as a bird) specialized especially in food or habitat

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Other Words from specialist

specialist or specialistic \ ˌspe-​shə-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce specialist (audio) \ adjective

Examples of specialist in a Sentence

She consulted a marketing specialist when she decided to go into business. He saw a specialist for his foot problem.
Recent Examples on the Web The 51-year-old doctor, an infectious diseases specialist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, was sworn in on Inauguration Day. Star Tribune, "CDC's new leader faces pandemic and rebuilding job," 14 Feb. 2021 Laura Condeluci, a public affairs specialist at Architect of the Capitol, told USA TODAY in an email that items from the Jan. 6 breach were turned over to law enforcement. Devon Link, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Photo shows U.S. Capitol cleanup after rioters left American flag among debris," 4 Feb. 2021 John Prandato, communications specialist at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, was series editor for the video project and contributed to this essay. Adil Najam, The Conversation, "I spoke to 99 big thinkers about what our ‘world after coronavirus’ might look like – this is what I learned," 12 Jan. 2021 Kim Thoma, the union president who works as an administrative specialist at the hospital, said the hospital is already at emergency staffing levels. oregonlive, "As Oregon State Hospital halts admissions due to coronavirus outbreak, staff shortage poses mounting challenges," 10 Dec. 2020 Hotez sent Rojelio Mejia, an infectious-disease specialist who has worked in Latin America and East Africa, to start collecting soil and waste samples in Lowndes County. Alexis Okeowo, The New Yorker, "The Heavy Toll of the Black Belt’s Wastewater Crisis," 23 Nov. 2020 ILLeY made his Call of Duty presence known as a search-and-destroy specialist. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "2 examples of the Empire’s rare work ethic that show why Dallas is primed for another CDL title run," 4 Feb. 2021 Pennock works as a reading specialist for Hulsing Elementary School in Canton. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Fake jobless claims now trigger tax troubles for victims," 28 Jan. 2021 Millete is a civilian employee for the Navy and works as a contract specialist. Karen Kucher, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Search continues for missing Chula Vista mother of 3," 21 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'specialist.' 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 specialist

1836, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for specialist

Time Traveler

The first known use of specialist was in 1836

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Statistics for specialist

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Specialist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/specialist. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for specialist



English Language Learners Definition of specialist

: a person who has special knowledge and skill relating to a particular job, area of study, etc.
: a doctor who deals with health problems that relate to a specific area of medicine
: a rank in the U.S. Army that is above the rank of private and below the rank of corporal


spe·​cial·​ist | \ ˈspe-shə-list How to pronounce specialist (audio) \

Kids Definition of specialist

1 : a person who studies or works at a special occupation or branch of learning a specialist in animal behavior an eye specialist
2 : an enlisted person in the army with a rank similar to that of corporal


spe·​cial·​ist | \ ˈspesh-(ə-)ləst How to pronounce specialist (audio) \

Medical Definition of specialist

: a medical practitioner whose practice is limited to a particular class of patients (as children) or of diseases (as skin diseases) or of technique (as surgery) especially : a physician who is qualified by advanced training and certification by a specialty examining board to so limit his or her practice

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