noun, often attributive
spe·​cial·​ty | \ˈspe-shəl-tē \
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

Although many regular vets do home visits, that's Lap of Love's specialty. Lainey Seyler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "My cat will never die, but in case he does get sick, Lap of Love vet has some tips," 10 July 2018 Presentations and panels cover a wide range of topics, but have focused on politics and on the technology, media and telecommunications sector—the bank’s specialty. David Staats, idahostatesman, "Zuckerberg. Bezos. Cook. Media, tech titans gather in Idaho to network and make deals," 10 July 2018 But customers also travel long distances for the Greek specialties. Joan Cary, Aurora Beacon-News, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Basil’s Greek Dining in Aurora," 8 July 2018 Poke Bar serves the Hawaiian specialty at 6576 North Oak Trafficway. Sarah Gish, kansascity, "Freestyle Poké: 5 things to know about River Market's popular Hawaiian-style cafe," 2 July 2018 The specialty is focused on care for young patients with musculoskeletal issues. Hannah Holzer, sacbee, "UC Davis, Shriners ranked among nation's top hospitals for children in annual report," 28 June 2018 Regardless of the specialty chosen, graduates usually easily find gainful employment, Lyford said. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Wharton County Junior College’s Computer Science Program provides cutting-edge training," 15 June 2018 Catch the specialty show the last Friday of the month. Hannah Steinkopf-frank, RedEye Chicago, "Chicago comedy shows with female-identifying and queer casts," 26 Apr. 2018 Boat noodles are a specialty: Choose among rice, egg, or flat noodles in a pungent swirl of meatballs, pork rinds, bean sprouts, water spinach (known as morning glory), and beef or pork, topped with cilantro or scallions. Kara Baskin, BostonGlobe.com, "Quick Bite: Dakzen near Davis Square for Bangkok-style street food," 5 July 2018

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

1 Nov 2018

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 \
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 \
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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playful or foolish behavior

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