specific

adjective
spe·​cif·​ic | \ spi-ˈsi-fik \

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

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Other Words from specific

Adjective

specifically \ spi-​ˈsi-​fi-​k(ə-​)lē \ 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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The same is likely true for more specific programs such as tribal ones that serve Native Americans or those that serve the elderly. Bryce Covert, Glamour, "“At What Point Do We Have to Start Shutting Down?” Domestic Violence Shelters Struggle to Survive the Government Shutdown," 14 Jan. 2019 Kondo has very specific guidelines for how to properly fold clothes. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "What Is the KonMari Method? Here's How to Declutter the Marie Kondo Way," 11 Jan. 2019 Gaming laptops, and especially these, fill a very specific and expensive niche. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Bring on the Wacky Convertible Gaming Laptops," 7 Jan. 2019 While the main store is certainly the most impressive, there are additional, more specific shops peppered throughout the attraction. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "London’s Harry Potter Studio Tour Is Even More Magical in the Snow," 25 Dec. 2018 These three adjectives–plus the slightly more specific demand for a blue kitchen–left Albanese with total freedom for the design. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "A Vivacious Canadian Lake House With a Joyful Sense of Irreverence," 24 Dec. 2018 To be specific, protoplanetary disks typically form planets eventually, which means there’s a good chance there are planets out there orbiting binary star systems at all kinds of weird angles. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Astronomers Discover Bizarre Quadruple Star System," 15 Jan. 2019 The category of retro furniture is less specific than a certain style, like mid-century modern or French provincial, and more overarching to describe pieces that are decidedly outdated but appealing today because of their outdated-ness. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "What Exactly Is Retro Furniture?," 14 Jan. 2019 Data sharing like that was extremely uncommon two decades ago, but the 911 data proved to be insufficiently specific to be helpful. Dan Rosenbaum, Ars Technica, "All hail the AI overlord: Smart cities and the AI Internet of Things," 7 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The report did not delve into the specifics of how routes could be restructured, but instead identified topics that Philadelphia should consider to make a bus network more effective. Jason Laughlin, Philly.com, "Philadelphia's new bus network begins to take shape," 21 June 2018 The 68-question-long application then goes into specifics, asking details about square footage and what year the home was built. Rebecca Shinners, Country Living, "This Is What It’s Really Like to Be on HGTV’s ‘Fixer Upper’," 15 June 2018 But many of the specifics have yet to be worked out with the states. The Washington Post, cleveland.com, "Trump says he wants to send 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard troops to Mexican border," 5 Apr. 2018 When Intel tipped a half-dozen new desktop processors during its CES keynote, the company kept quiet about specifics. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel's new 'F-series' Core chips lack an integrated GPU, and probably aren't worth your money," 14 Jan. 2019 Old Navy: While Old Navy will have some holiday hours, the specifics depend on the location. Amina Lake Abdelrahman, Good Housekeeping, "Good News: These Stores Will Be Open on Christmas Eve," 22 Dec. 2018 Hofmann tells The Verge people should expect the company to be pretty tight-lipped about the program’s specifics until his team has reached out to some creators. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Byte’s creator culture will make or break Vine 2," 18 Dec. 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.

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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

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Statistics for specific

Last Updated

18 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for specific

The first known use of specific was circa 1631

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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 \

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 \

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

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specific

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

Other Words from specific

specifically \ -​i-​klē, -​kə-​lē \ adverb
specificity \ ˌspe-​sə-​ˈfi-​sə-​tē \ noun

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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

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