spe·cial·ize | \ ˈspe-shə-ˌlīz \
specialized; specializing

Definition of specialize 

transitive verb

1 : to make particular mention of : particularize

2 : to apply or direct to a specific end or use specialized their study

intransitive verb

1 : to concentrate one's efforts in a special activity, field, or practice

2 : to undergo specialization especially : to change adaptively

Examples of specialize in a Sentence

Some carpenters do a wide range of jobs, while others specialize.

Recent Examples on the Web

Netflix specializes in the soft sell, expecting viewers to stumble across its original films while scrolling through menus of suggestions. Bruce Fretts, New York Times, "It’s the Movie Hit of the Summer: Why ‘The Kissing Booth’ Clicked," 13 July 2018 The restaurant specializes in burgers, paninis and other sandwiches. Kyle Arnold, OrlandoSentinel.com, "6 new things to check out in Winter Garden and 3 coming soon," 13 July 2018 Both companies specialize in making loans to customers with little or no credit history, with a particular focus on working-class Latinos. James Rufus Koren, latimes.com, "Latest battle over California lending market: Should grocery stores offer large loans?," 12 July 2018 Craig Martin, a global principal with Ogilvy Consulting, specializes in the life sciences, biotech, health technology, health care, wellness, and pharmaceutical sectors. Craig Martin, STAT, "Why putting drug prices in ads is a bad idea," 11 July 2018 The Big Chill' This occasional series from the folks behind Fort Worth's Lone Star Film Festival specializes in documentaries, foreign films and Hollywood classics like this one. Sandy Guerra-cline, star-telegram, "River rockers, kid actors and peaches make the top 10 list of things to do in DFW," 11 July 2018 Neon Works specializes in restoring old neon signs for local business fronts and creating pieces for artists, tech companies and other businesses around the Bay Area. Jessica Christian, SFChronicle.com, "Glass bender melds art, science to create and restore neon signs," 9 July 2018 Angels & Hearts specializes in two things: rolled crêpes and intensely flavored soft serve. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "22 San Diego ice cream shops where you can cool off on this very hot day," 6 July 2018 Such care includes referral to a physician specializing in high-risk pregnancies when high-risk pregnancy is indicated. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Pregnant Women Say They Are Being Shackled and Denied Medical Attention in Immigration Detention Centers," 10 July 2018

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

1616, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for specialize

The first known use of specialize was in 1616

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More Definitions for specialize



English Language Learners Definition of specialize

: to limit your business or area of study to one specific subject


spe·cial·ize | \ ˈspe-shə-ˌlīz \
specialized; specializing

Kids Definition of specialize

1 : to limit attention or energy to one business, subject, or study The factory will specialize in jet airplanes.

2 : to change and develop so as to be suited for some particular use or living conditions The front legs of a mole are specialized for digging.


intransitive verb
variants: also British specialise \ˈspesh-ə-ˌlīz \
specialized also British specialised; specializing also British specialising

Medical Definition of specialize 

1 : to concentrate one's efforts in a special activity or field : become or be a specialist specialize in anesthesiology

2 : to undergo evolutionary specialization

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Comments on specialize

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


alleviating pain or harshness

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