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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Mandaviya said India would produce over 1 billion doses in the final three months of this year, but did not specify how many of those doses would be exported abroad. Clay Chandler And Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, 21 Sep. 2021 Smith would not specify his beliefs and would only identify himself as non-denominational Christian. Olivia Ebertz, Anchorage Daily News, 19 Sep. 2021 Alex Murdaugh's brother and also an attorney at PMPED law firm, released a statement about the resignation acknowledging what attorney Jim Griffin would later specify as Alex Murdaugh's opioid addiction. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 15 Sep. 2021 Asked if the third-year sophomore had practiced this week, Cristobal wouldn’t specify. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 8 Sep. 2021 The state health department said a warehouse where the nursing home residents were taken had concerning conditions but did not specify how the residents died or why the deaths were linked to the storm. Washington Post, 2 Sep. 2021 The director said at the time that Congress could soon find out what occurred, but did not specify a date. Luke Barr, ABC News, 11 Aug. 2021 The agreement would specify that broker reporting rules do not apply to anyone engaged in validating distributed ledger transactions — sometimes referred to as mining or staking, though there are other methods — without providing other services. al, 9 Aug. 2021 Beane wouldn’t specify an exact date in saying the sides have agreed to suspend talks before Week 1 in September as not to serve as a distraction for the fourth-year starter, whose rookie contract runs through the end of the 2022 season. BostonGlobe.com, 2 Aug. 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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Dictionary Entries Near specify

specific weight



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Statistics for specify

Last Updated

6 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Specify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/specify. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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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 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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