specific

adjective
spe·​cif·​ic | \ spi-ˈsi-fik How to pronounce specific (audio) \

Definition of specific

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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
2a : 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
5a : 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

specific

noun

Definition of specific (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : 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
2a : a characteristic quality or trait
b : details, particulars usually used in plural haggling over the legal and financial specifics of independenceTime
c specifics plural : specification sense 2a

-specific

combining form

Definition of -specific (Entry 3 of 3)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from specific

Adjective

specifically \ spi-​ˈsi-​fi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce specifically (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for specific

Synonyms: Adjective

concrete, distinct, especial, express, peculiar, precise, set, special

Synonyms: Noun

cure, drug, medicament, medication, medicinal, medicine, pharmaceutical, physic, remedy

Antonyms: Adjective

nonspecific

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for specific

Adjective

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

Examples of specific in a Sentence

Adjective

Is there anything specific you want for dinner? There is a specific word for this kind of feeling. a bird species that requires a specific environment We were each given a specific topic to talk about. The doctor gave the patient specific instructions on how to care for the wound. Can you be more specific? What exactly did the policeman say? He gave her a ring—or, to be more specific, he gave her an engagement ring. She was very specific—you have to use a certain kind of tomato in the sauce. an education plan specific to each student's interests and abilities problems specific to this one housing project

Noun

quinine is a specific for malaria although the speech was long on rhetoric and platitudinous generalities, it lacked specifics
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Working for the royal family means grasping a whole new set of specific protocols. Annabelle Spranklen, Town & Country, "What It's Really Like to Work for the Royal Family," 6 Apr. 2019 In the Vulture interview, Kristy takes specific issue with the character of Lacey, who is meant to portray Aleah Woodmansee, Gypsy’s friend and neighbor. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "What Gypsy Rose Blanchard's Stepmom Says Hulu's "The Act" Got Wrong," 4 Apr. 2019 Studies show a specific connection between eating and hearing. Meghan Rabbitt, Woman's Day, "How To Recapture Peace and Quiet In a Noisy World," 27 Mar. 2019 Tucked away in the Lower East Side, the Metrograph was launched in 2016 as a way to promote and preserve a specific type of filmgoing experience that seemed to be going extinct. Keaton Bell, Vogue, "The Coolest New Yorkers Came Out to Celebrate the Metrograph Theater's Third Birthday," 25 Mar. 2019 Here are three options starting at just $399, each designed for a specific type of rider in mind. Popular Mechanics, "Get Ready to Ride This Spring with These Affordable Bikes," 23 Jan. 2019 The resulting collection, then, presents a range of prints (14, to be specific, in dozens of colorways) which can, in various combinations, skew understated or all-out maximalist. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "One of the Most Iconic Wallpapers of All Time Is Back," 20 Mar. 2019 Instead, a combination of hardware is used with different machines separating out specific classes of material. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Bikes, bowling balls, and the delicate balancing act that is modern recycling," 31 Dec. 2018 Although no specific cause of death has been announced at time of publish, the 94-year-old had been receiving treatment for a form of Parkinson's disease. Tess Kornfeld, Glamour, "Jenna Bush Hager Remembers Her Grandfather, Former President George H. W. Bush, in a Touching Tribute," 1 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Head injury, without getting into too many specifics. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks ‘were not comfortable’ allowing Malik McDowell to try to continue playing, agent says," 25 Mar. 2019 What is the process, what are the specifics around it? Luke Leitch, Vogue, "The Challenge of Freedom: Kris Van Assche on Rebooting Berluti," 17 Jan. 2019 Some specifics of our techniques for determining the true identity of a person crossing the border are law enforcement sensitive information. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Border Patrol Detained a 9-Year-Old U.S. Citizen for Over a Day on Her Way to School," 22 Mar. 2019 The geographical specifics of Hilmar’s upbringing almost certainly have some bearing on her work. Mikael Jansson, Vogue, "14 Countries, 14 Superstars: The Global Actors Who Know No Limits," 14 Mar. 2019 Again, specifics as to what would happen next (and when those very things would happen) were scarce. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Airbnb’s ‘Superguest’ Program: The Benefits We Want to See," 18 Dec. 2018 In a story published Friday, CNN broke down some specifics. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "What Is the College Admissions Scandal? Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman Were Indicted," 15 Mar. 2019 Slimane’s bid—by repetition—was to train the eye on specifics. Vogue, "The Top 12 Collections of the Fall 2019 Menswear Season," 23 Jan. 2019 Burns ordered the Kansas attorney general to file what is called a bill of particulars, which goes into more specifics about the charges alleged against the defendants. Steve Vockrodt And Lauren Fox, kansascity, "Schlitterbahn to tear down Verruckt water slide in KCK where young boy died in 2016," 12 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of specific

Adjective

circa 1631, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1661, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for specific

Adjective and Combining form

Late Latin specificus, from Latin species

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about specific

Statistics for specific

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for specific

The first known use of specific was circa 1631

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for specific

specific

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of specific

: special or particular
: clearly and exactly presented or stated : precise or exact
: relating to a particular person, situation, etc.

specific

adjective
spe·​cif·​ic | \ spi-ˈsi-fik How to pronounce specific (audio) \

Kids Definition of specific

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

Other Words from specific

specifically \ -​ˈsi-​fi-​kə-​lē \ adverb

specific

adjective
spe·​cif·​ic | \ spi-ˈsif-ik How to pronounce specific (audio) \

Medical Definition of specific

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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

specific

noun

Medical Definition of specific (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

specific

adjective
spe·​cif·​ic | \ spə-ˈsi-fik How to pronounce specific (audio) \

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

Other Words from specific

specifically \ -​i-​klē, -​kə-​lē How to pronounce specifically (audio) \ adverb
specificity \ ˌspe-​sə-​ˈfi-​sə-​tē How to pronounce specificity (audio) \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on specific

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with specific

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for specific

Spanish Central: Translation of specific

Nglish: Translation of specific for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of specific for Arabic Speakers

Comments on specific

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

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!