1

specific

play
adjective spe·cif·ic \ spi-ˈsi-fik \

Definition of specific

1 a :constituting or falling into a specifiable category
b :sharing or being those properties of something that allow it to be referred to a particular category
2 a :restricted to a particular individual, situation, relation, or effect
  • a disease specific to horses
b :exerting a distinctive influence (as on a body part or a disease)
  • specific antibodies
3 :free from ambiguity :accurate
  • a specific statement of faith
4 :of, relating to, or constituting a species and especially a biological species
5 a :being any of various arbitrary physical constants and especially one relating a quantitative attribute to unit mass, volume, or area
b :imposed at a fixed rate per unit (as of weight or count)
  • specific import duties
— compare ad valorem

specifically

play \spi-ˈsi-fi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of specific in a Sentence

  1. Is there anything specific you want for dinner?

  2. There is a specific word for this kind of feeling.

  3. a bird species that requires a specific environment

  4. We were each given a specific topic to talk about.

  5. The doctor gave the patient specific instructions on how to care for the wound.

  6. Can you be more specific? What exactly did the policeman say?

  7. He gave her a ring—or, to be more specific, he gave her an engagement ring.

  8. She was very specific—you have to use a certain kind of tomato in the sauce.

  9. an education plan specific to each student's interests and abilities

  10. problems specific to this one housing project

Recent Examples of specific from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'specific.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of specific

Late Latin specificus, from Latin species

Synonym Discussion of specific

special, especial, specific, particular, individual mean of or relating to one thing or class. special stresses having a quality, character, identity, or use of its own.
    • special ingredients
especial may add implications of preeminence or preference.
    • a matter of especial importance
specific implies a quality or character distinguishing a kind or a species.
    • children with specific nutritional needs
particular stresses the distinctness of something as an individual.
    • a ballet step of particular difficulty
individual implies unequivocal reference to one of a class or group.
    • valued each individual opinion
explicit, definite, express, specific mean perfectly clear in meaning. explicit implies such verbal plainness and distinctness that there is no need for inference and no room for difficulty in understanding.
    • explicit instructions
definite stresses precise, clear statement or arrangement that leaves no doubt or indecision.
    • the law is definite in such cases
express implies both explicitness and direct and positive utterance.
    • her express wishes
specific applies to what is precisely and fully treated in detail or particular.
    • two specific criticisms

2

specific

noun

Definition of specific

1 a :something peculiarly adapted to a purpose or use
b :a drug or remedy having a specific mitigating effect on a disease
  • used as a specific against malaria
2 a :a characteristic quality or trait
b :details, particulars usually used in plural
  • haggling over the legal and financial specifics of independence
  • Time
c specifics plural :specification 2a

Examples of specific in a Sentence

  1. quinine is a specific for malaria

  2. although the speech was long on rhetoric and platitudinous generalities, it lacked specifics

Recent Examples of specific from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'specific.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of specific

1661


-specific

combining form

Definition of -specific

:relating or applying specifically to or intended specifically for
  • gender-specific

Origin and Etymology of -specific


SPECIFIC Defined for English Language Learners

specific

play
adjective

Definition of specific for English Language Learners

  • : special or particular

  • : clearly and exactly presented or stated : precise or exact

  • : relating to a particular person, situation, etc.


SPECIFIC Defined for Kids

specific

play
adjective spe·cif·ic \ spi-ˈsi-fik \

Definition of specific for Students

1 :relating to or being an example of a certain kind of thing
  • a specific case
2 :relating to a particular individual or situation
  • There are problems specific to this project.
3 :clearly and exactly presented or stated
  • specific directions

specifically

\-ˈsi-fi-kə-lē\ adverb

Medical Dictionary

1

specific

play
adjective spe·cif·ic \ spi-ˈsif-ik \

medical Definition of specific

1 a :restricted by nature to a particular individual, situation, relation, or effect
  • a disease specific to horses
b :exerting a distinctive influence (as on a body part or a disease)
  • specific antibodies
2 :of, relating to, or constituting a species and especially a biological species

2

specific

noun

medical Definition of specific

:a drug or remedy having a specific mitigating effect on a disease

Law Dictionary

specific

play
adjective spe·cif·ic \ spə-ˈsi-fik \

legal Definition of specific

1 :relating to a particular thing
2 :intended for or restricted to a particular end or object
3 :being of a particularly identified kind or nature

specifically

play \-i-klē, -kə-lē\ adverb

specificity

play \ˌspe-sə-ˈfi-sə-tē\ noun


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

of yeast or being unsettled or frivolous

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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