spec·​i·​fy | \ ˈspe-sə-ˌfī How to pronounce specify (audio) \
specified; specifying

Definition of specify

transitive verb

1 : to name or state explicitly or in detail
2 : to include as an item in a specification

Other Words from specify

specifiable \ ˌspe-​sə-​ˈfī-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce specify (audio) \ adjective
specifier \ ˈspe-​sə-​ˌfī(-​ə)r How to pronounce specify (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for specify


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Examples of specify in a Sentence

Can you specify the cause of the argument? Specify the color and quantity when you order. He clearly specified California wine. The instructions do not specify what kind of screws to use. All subscriptions are for one year unless otherwise specified. At the specified time, we rang the bell. She agreed to the terms specified in the contract. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The release didn’t specify which of the officers struck Ralph Picarello III, 39, who died on the scene. Darcy Costello, Baltimore Sun, 10 May 2022 The company didn’t specify what caused the write-down. Joe Flint, WSJ, 10 May 2022 Sharp does not specify its size, but previous presentations have indicated that the sensor is big enough to fit two fingers. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, 10 May 2022 The website currently doesn’t specify the potential cereal offender. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, 7 May 2022 At Clinton Rosette Middle School, tickets did not always specify race, but at least 40% went to Black students. Jennifer Smith Richards, ProPublica, 6 May 2022 Pointer did not specify how many students were involved or what kind of disciplinary action was taken. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, 6 May 2022 The new lawsuit requests damages, attorney fees and other costs but does not specify a specific amount. Cheri Mossburg And Taylor Romine, CNN, 6 May 2022 Friday’s filing did not specify how or when authorities had obtained a record of the 2020 phone call, and the district attorney’s office declined to answer detailed questions about the transcript. Washington Post, 6 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of specify

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for specify

Middle English specifien, from Anglo-French specifier, from Late Latin specificare, from specificus

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Time Traveler for specify

Time Traveler

The first known use of specify was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near specify

specific weight



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Statistics for specify

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Specify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/specify. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for specify


spec·​i·​fy | \ ˈspe-sə-ˌfī How to pronounce specify (audio) \
specified; specifying

Kids Definition of specify

1 : to mention or name exactly and clearly Can you specify the cause of the crash?
2 : to include in a description of work to be done or materials to be used

More from Merriam-Webster on specify

Nglish: Translation of specify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of specify for Arabic Speakers


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