spec·i·fy | \ˈspe-sə-ˌfī \
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 \ adjective
specifier \ˈspe-sə-ˌfī(-ə)r \ 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

All the times that residents gave to the Free Press, however, are well past the 10 p.m. deadline that noise ordinance signs usually specify. Marc Daalder, Detroit Free Press, "Motorcycle engines and blaring boomboxes keep Rivertown up at night," 5 June 2018 Under the agreement, UConn will specify the terms of the insurance and Seven Stars will pay the premium up to a total cost of $250,000. Kathleen Megan, courant.com, "UConn Trustees Approve Sale Of West Hartford Campus to Financial Tech Company," 6 July 2018 But the president has never specified his objective. Martin Feldstein, WSJ, "The Use—and Abuse—of Tariffs," 5 July 2018 Dvorak specified that the first entry of the cello be made resolutely and with marked accent. Alan Artner, chicagotribune.com, "In the heat, Moser, Grant Park Orchestra perform a delicate Dvorak," 30 June 2018 His comments marked the first time a public official has specified how many of them are in the Chicago area. CBS News, "ICE may seek up to 15,000 beds to detain immigrant families," 22 June 2018 None of the lawsuits, however, specifies how much less Disney contends those assessments should be. Gabrielle Russon, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Disney fights over latest tax bill for Grand Floridian, other properties," 18 June 2018 Users specify preferences for everything from size and budget to lifestyle. Leah Bourne, Glamour, "Women's Clothing Subscription Boxes Want to Change the Way You Shop—So We Tried Them," 18 June 2018 Federal law specifies that anyone convicted of a misdemeanor or a crime that carries a prison term of two years or less under state law isn’t specifically barred from owning a gun. Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, "State urges police chiefs to strip gun licenses from hundreds previously approved," 15 June 2018

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

4 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for specify

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

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More Definitions for specify



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 \
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

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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