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

While various tribes hold different design specialties—the Navajo, for example, are best known best for their weaving and textiles—much the native community across North America makes use of glass beads in some aspect. Vogue, "Meet 8 Indigenous Beaders Who Are Modernizing Their Craft," 24 Apr. 2019 Hoose told the court that were other disciplinary options besides indefinite suspension, such as a temporary suspension or barring Estes from presiding over a specialty court. Maria Cramer, BostonGlobe.com, "SJC weighing the fate of judge implicated in courthouse sexual relationship," 24 Apr. 2018 These specialty courts are often used for repeat offenders as a way to avoid going to prison. Michelle Hunter, NOLA.com, "Suspect who triggered St. Catherine lockdown to face gun, drug charges: JPSO," 3 Apr. 2018 The company cited a legal opinion from Zhong Lun Law Firm, one of China’s largest law firms, whose specialties include telecommunications. Josh Chin, WSJ, "U.S. Believes It Doesn’t Need to Show ‘Proof’ Huawei Is a Spy Threat," 23 Jan. 2019 The Mueller team in Alexandria is being led by Andrew Weissmann, whose specialties included fraud and organized crime before Mueller enlisted him. Peter Doocy, Fox News, "Paul Manafort trial begins, shifting Mueller probe focus away from Russia," 31 July 2018 Patio on 101 has just one menu serving American comfort food with specialty dishes such as daily seafood specials, ahi poke tacos and happy hour bao bun specials. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Shuttered Encinitas eatery reborn as Patio on 101," 21 June 2018 Only available through the end of the month during dinner service, Lidia’s Roma menu featuring specialty dishes with seasonal items found in the heart of Italy (think fava beans and artichokes). Dave Eckert, kansascity, "It's time for spring menus at some Kansas City restaurants | The Kansas City Star," 26 Apr. 2018 Dinner platter offerings remain familiar, not venturing too far into the lesser known specialty dishes of Mexico, the exception perhaps being the seafood entrees. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "It's not Louisville's best Mexican food, but grill near Churchill Downs is a solid option," 25 Apr. 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

3 May 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

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


something valued as if it were money

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