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

Johnson plays Will Sawyer, a building security expert who has a prosthetic below one knee – a remnant of his dangerous former career as a hostage-rescue specialist with the FBI. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "The Rock's towering presence fails to elevate 'Skyscraper'," 11 July 2018 Not to mention, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce excel as catch-and-run specialists with the kind of running skills that can make Kansas City's screen game downright scary. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Brett Favre's former teammate 'beginning to buy into the hype' about Patrick Mahomes," 2 July 2018 Our Telestroke Initiative allows our specialists to respond immediately through live videoconferencing to rapidly evaluate patients and improve door-to-treatment times. Steven J. Corwin, Recode, "Let’s make telemedicine available to all," 25 June 2018 Jennifer Donlon Wyant, an active transportation program specialist with the city of Sacramento, makes a right turn signal while filming a video for the city of the new bike lanes at 13th and P streets on May 4. Tony Bizjak, sacbee, "Here's what your gas tax hike will fund in the Sacramento area - if voters don't repeal," 12 June 2018 Hot and dry conditions can fuel the growth and potency of toxic algae, said Rebecca Hillwig, natural resource specialist with the Oregon Health Authority. Everton Bailey Jr., OregonLive.com, "1 dead, several injured in 3-car crash near Woodburn," 7 June 2018 The Emmett Fire Department called on hazardous materials specialists with the Idaho National Guard for help in assessing an unknown substance that sickened two people Thursday. Katy Moeller, idahostatesman, "National Guard hazmat experts tapped after 2 in Emmett sickened by unknown substance | Idaho Statesman," 18 May 2018 As a result, says Tim Steffen, a tax specialist with Robert W. Baird & Co., investors who were high earners or owed AMT often didn’t benefit from the write-off. Laura Saunders, WSJ, "What to Do Now That the Deduction for Investment Fees Is Dead," 4 May 2018 Charlene Bringhurst, natural resource specialist with the state's Fairbanks mining section, said the state is reviewing the project's April 4 application and working closely with Nome-area residents. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Gold seekers with big plans for Nome area – including TV show – draw opposition," 1 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

26 Oct 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

Comments on specialist

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