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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Built for about $33 million and equipped for another $20 million, the facility is not a hospital or trauma center, but an ambulatory surgical center with 17 medical specialties and imaging and diagnostic services. Ron Hurtibise, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Cleveland Clinic readies new $53 million Coral Springs Family Health Center," 13 July 2018 His role as a checking forward with a penalty kill specialty will likely earn him a bottom-six spot. Michael Blinn, SI.com, "Blackhawks Add Cap Space by Trading Marian Hossa's Contract to Coyotes," 12 July 2018 Eighty percent of 103 clinical department heads — the doctors who oversee specialties such as surgery, medicine, obstetrics, and psychiatry — at the city’s six major teaching hospitals are men, according to data provided by the hospitals. Liz Kowalczyk, BostonGlobe.com, "At top hospitals, department chiefs still overwhelmingly white, male," 10 July 2018 The longtime cheerleader for farmers goes on the road too, cooking morels near a mushroom hunt in spring and bringing his mobile kitchen to family farms with vegetable, fruit or livestock specialties. Mary Bergin, chicagotribune.com, "Chow down on the farm this summer at special dinners in America's Dairyland," 9 July 2018 Ursula said a big seller and specialty is the Bowes Bonanza, a Chicago style pizza with Italian sausage, green pepper, onion and mushroom. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Emil's Tavern on Center in Grayslake," 9 July 2018 The Outcare list has grown to 1,200 providers from all 50 states, representing 30 different specialties from primary care doctors to massage therapists. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "These doctors may be in, but they're also friendly to patients who are out, website says," 7 July 2018 The new ownership group plans to build an outpatient facility with an urgent care, a surgery center, a radiology department, a lab, and rooms for multiple medical specialties, said Allied Pacific Chairman Kenneth Sim. Frank Shyong, latimes.com, "Chinatown's only hospital will reopen as an outpatient clinic," 6 July 2018 The marché is brimming with local specialties like buttery brioche, honey by Ruchers des Chouans, sea salt harvested by hand, smoked fish, and bottles of N'O, the island’s only craft beer. Mary Winston Nicklin, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Small Island Where the Tour de France Begins Is Actually a Vacationer's Paradise," 3 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about specialty

Phrases Related to specialty

specialty of the house

specialty shop

Statistics for specialty

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for specialty

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more


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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on specialty

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


by word of mouth

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!