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 specialistic (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 plan will also advocate plugging information gaps — often caused by a lack of coordination in electronic medical records — so specialists know all the meds their patients are taking. Robert Weisman, BostonGlobe.com, "Critics fighting to curb an epidemic of medication side effects," 13 Jan. 2020 Signals intelligence specialists sought to hone in on the cell phones of the occupants to confirm their identities. NBC News, "Airport informants, overhead drones: How the U.S. killed Soleimani," 10 Jan. 2020 And many specialists work in urban areas, leaving states that are mostly rural, like Mississippi and Missouri, with fewer dermatologists per capita than elsewhere. Taylore Glynn, Marie Claire, "Dermatology Deserts: What to Do If You Live in One," 8 Jan. 2020 Aviation specialists believe a missile may be to blame for the fiery crash of a Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737 that fell into pieces over Tehran, Iran late Tuesday night. Spencer Neale, Washington Examiner, "Aviation experts say missile or 'bomb on board' may have downed Ukrainian plane in Iran," 8 Jan. 2020 Synthetic specialists Arch Prince, Harmon and Lymebird also possess appeal. Los Angeles Times, "Racing! Eclipse Awards are around the corner," 2 Jan. 2020 Obstetrical specialists are 60+ miles away in Montgomery or Tuscaloosa or Birmingham. Anna Claire Vollers | Avollers@al.com, al, "Rural healthcare isn’t easy. Here’s how one Alabama woman bridges gaps in the Black Belt," 29 Dec. 2019 Cheerful lactation specialists arrived and departed, but my confidence in my natural abilities was already eroding. Ariella Cook-shonkoff, Glamour, "I’m Not a ‘Natural Mother’—And That’s Okay," 27 Dec. 2019 Wide receivers included Carter Wilson of Foster, Kellen Stewart of Terry and Randy Masters of Shadow Creek, Second-team specialists were kicker Christian Cortez of Angleton and punter David Morales of Texas City. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Football: Shadow Creek headlines all-District 10-5A unit," 24 Dec. 2019

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

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Specialist.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/specialist. Accessed 27 January 2020.

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More Definitions for specialist


How to pronounce specialist (audio)

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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Comments on specialist

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


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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