noun, often attributive
spe·​cial·​ty | \ ˈspe-shəl-tē How to pronounce specialty (audio) \
plural specialties

Definition of specialty

1 : a distinctive mark or quality
2a : a special object or class of objects: such as
(1) : a legal agreement embodied in a sealed instrument
(2) : a product of a special kind or of special excellence fried chicken is my specialty
b : the state of being special, distinctive, or peculiar
3 : something in which one specializes

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Examples of specialty in a Sentence

Buttermilk pie is a Southern specialty. a doctor with a specialty in internal medicine

Recent Examples on the Web

Answer: California, like other higher-tax states, has residency auditors whose specialty is asserting that affluent people who have left the state are still legal residents and thus are subject to its taxes. Liz Weston, latimes.com, "Escaping California’s tax auditors is tough even after leaving the state," 7 July 2019 Takeda’s specialties included cancer-fighting treatments. Jonathan Saltzman, BostonGlobe.com, "Takeda, already a giant in Mass. biopharma, plans a bigger footprint," 4 July 2019 House specialties are a whole beer-can-style chicken, smoked salmon, smoked 2-pound turkey leg, smoked jackfruit and whole Bahamian-style red snapper. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Family-friendly brewery-restaurant opens in San Marcos," 2 July 2019 Other specialties include cro-dos, or croissant/doughnut hybrids, available only Fridays because of their handmade, labor-intensive process. Leeanne Griffin, courant.com, "Deviant Donuts are bold and beautiful — and just a little bit over-the-top," 28 June 2019 For a panoramic view of the area, go to the bluff-top patio of Danzinger Vineyards, whose specialty is sweet wines that have won international awards. Mary Bergin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "3 small towns for a summer getaway in Wisconsin," 11 July 2018 Chef-owner Tony Sohi, of Danville’s Santorini and Walnut Creek’s Silk Road, offers a mix of pastas, sandwiches, kebabs and other specialties, like tender lamb shanks in tomato sauce. Jessica Yadegaran, The Mercury News, "10 best new Bay Area restaurants for outdoor dining," 24 June 2019 Try a Hawaiian meal of poke and other local specialties, and visit a working sugar factory to see how raw cane is transformed into sweetener. National Geographic, "Hawai'i Middle School Expedition," 12 June 2019 Members of the commission will include physicians with certain specialties, including neurology, physical pain management, oncology and psychiatry. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al.com, "Medical marijuana isn’t legal in Alabama; Bill only establishes study," 11 June 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for specialty

Middle English specialte, from Anglo-French especialté, from Late Latin specialitat-, specialitas, from Latin specialis special

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Statistics for specialty

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for specialty

The first known use of specialty was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for specialty



English Language Learners Definition of specialty

: something that a person or place is known for making or producing very well
: an area of study or business that a person specializes in or has special knowledge of


spe·​cial·​ty | \ ˈspe-shəl-tē How to pronounce specialty (audio) \
plural specialties

Kids Definition of specialty

: something for which a person or place is known Pancakes are my speciality. Good service is the restaurant's specialty.


spe·​cial·​ty | \ ˈspesh-əl-tē How to pronounce specialty (audio) \
plural specialties

Medical Definition of specialty

: something (as a branch of medicine) in which one specializes

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plural specialties

Legal Definition of specialty

1 [ from the special form of the contract ] : formal contract at contract
2 : a doctrine providing that a person extradited can be prosecuted only for the charges described in the order for extradition
3 : real property (as a parcel of land or especially a structure) that is of such specialized character that no market for it exists and for which value upon condemnation is determined by the cost of reproduction less depreciation used especially in New York

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Comments on specialty

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characterized by aphorism

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