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 specify (audio) \ adjective
specifier \ ˈspe-​sə-​ˌfī(-​ə)r How to pronounce specify (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 Wolford declined to specify the exact nature of his injury. Gary Klein Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Jared Goff will start for Rams against Packers as John Wolford’s neck injury lingers," 14 Jan. 2021 The network declined to specify who will be hosting the inaugural episode. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Fox News announces handful of network lineup changes," 11 Jan. 2021 Eighteen others declined to specify a religious affiliation. The Salt Lake Tribune, "New Congress is overwhelmingly Christian, heavily Protestant and has 9 Latter-day Saints (all Republicans)," 4 Jan. 2021 You are asked to please specify the pickup date on your form. cleveland, "Take a story walk with the Heights Libraries: Press Run," 27 Nov. 2020 The news release did not specify the damages that Williamson is seeking nor even the court in which the suit was filed. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "Former Giant Mac Williamson sues club over concussion that ‘ended my career’," 10 Nov. 2020 The lawsuit does not specify how much those payments were or who made them. Zach Murdock, courant.com, "Estate of Jennifer Farber Dulos’ late father sues attorney Norm Pattis over $250,000 retainer paid by Fotis Dulos," 18 Aug. 2020 The state’s data doesn’t specify whether people testing positive for COVID-19 have symptoms. Anchorage Daily News, "Tracking COVID-19 in Alaska: 257 new cases reported Sunday, no new deaths," 10 Jan. 2021 Nor does the amendment specify the conditions that would make the president unable to carry out the powers and duties of office. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Plenty of complications in using 25th Amendment to boot Trump from office," 7 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for specify

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for specify

Last Updated

27 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Specify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/specify. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on specify

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