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

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Other Words from specify

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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Junior Gerrid Doaks is out indefinitely with a knee injury, a source told The Enquirer, joining Charles McClelland (ACL, out for the season) and Tavion Thomas (violation of team rules, return date not specified) as sidelined Bearcats' running backs. Fletcher Page, Cincinnati.com, "UC football: Bearcats RB Gerrid Doaks out indefinitely with knee injury," 3 Sep. 2019 Our bylaws specify a procedure for the first election, namely drawing of lots to determine terms, to be two (two-year) and three (one-year). San Diego Union-Tribune, "HOA Homefront: What happens after total board recall?," 24 Aug. 2019 Others also promised to boycott Disneyland, but did not specify which location. Karen Chu, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hong Kong Protestors Call for Disney Boycott After 'Mulan' Star Voices Support for Police Crackdown," 16 Aug. 2019 What Carr does specify is to what extent Roy and Carter were failed by the systems around them. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Cultural Fault Lines of I Love You, Now Die," 10 July 2019 Outdoor public pools Unless otherwise specified, the summer season for all of Denver’s outdoor public pools is June 3-Aug. 11. Kaitlyn Bancroft, The Know, "30 public pools around Denver where you can make a splash," 30 June 2019 In 2015, Xunava’s parents applied through the United Nations for third-country resettlement, not specifying a destination. Rania Abouzeid, National Geographic, "Fleeing Syria, these child refugees become child laborers," 20 June 2019 There as a consensus to specify that a candidate should have a minimum of Fire Officer Level III qualifications. Catalina Righter, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Carroll County getting closer to first director of fire and EMS, with job listing coming soon," 12 Sep. 2019 State lawmakers amended the bill to specify that contracts signed by student-athletes could not conflict with contracts held by their team. Nanette Asimov, SFChronicle.com, "California would allow college athletes to profit under bill headed to Newsom," 11 Sep. 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for specify

Last Updated

1 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for specify

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

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More Definitions for specify


How to pronounce specify (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of specify

: to name or mention (someone or something) exactly and clearly : to be specific about (something)


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on specify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for specify

Spanish Central: Translation of specify

Nglish: Translation of specify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of specify for Arabic Speakers

Comments on specify

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


to spread as a report or rumor

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