spe·​cial·​ist | \ˈspe-sh(ə-)list \

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 \ 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

While the new findings are very interesting, the study is small, said Dr. Alan Penzias, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at the Harvard Medical School and a fertility specialist at Boston IVF. Fox News, "IVF kids may have higher risk of high blood pressure," 6 Sep. 2018 Michael Callahan, an infectious-disease specialist at Harvard Medical School, told the Times. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "China’s refusal to share virus is “scandalous… many could die needlessly”," 28 Aug. 2018 Maggie Saska, plant production specialist at the Rodale Institute organic farm, says the most important reason to grow flowers in your vegetable bed is to attract native bees and other beneficial insects. Rebecca Straus, Good Housekeeping, "Why You Should Always Plant Flowers in Your Vegetable Patch," 15 Aug. 2018 According to Lovullo, Dyson will meet with a specialist on Friday to determine the exact significance of the injury. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Arizona Diamondbacks place outfielder Jarrod Dyson on DL with 'lower core' injury," 5 July 2018 An appointment with an Ear Nose and Throat specialist was set for February, but then everyone in the family got sick around Christmas. Blake Sebring, Post-Tribune, "Town rallies around baby who successfully fought off cancer," 14 June 2018 Wright left her job to give her daughter the full-time attention needed for constant appointments with specialists. Thomas Leavy, CBS News, "Graduate with cerebral palsy walks across stage to standing ovation," 8 June 2018 This June, the Farmington Libraries invites the public to digitally scan and save their precious family memories by making an appointment with the library's resident scanning specialist. Courant Community, "Community News For The Valley Edition," 5 June 2018 The law requires doctors who provide medication abortions to have a contract with a specialist who has hospital admitting privileges. Robert Barnes, BostonGlobe.com, "Supreme Court won’t take up challenge to restrictive Arkansas abortion law," 30 May 2018

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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Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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The first known use of specialist was in 1836

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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 \

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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on specialist

Spanish Central: Translation of specialist

Nglish: Translation of specialist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of specialist for Arabic Speakers

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