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 Ciryak did not specify how many officers shot at the 47-year-old man. Evan Macdonald, cleveland, "Officers fatally shot Parma man after he opened fire on them during SWAT standoff, police say," 26 May 2020 The study did not specify whether any had also cut jobs, however. Nelson D. Schwartz, BostonGlobe.com, "To avoid layoffs, some companies turn to pay cuts, defying conventional wisdom," 24 May 2020 Sanchez did not specify when the public will be allowed back into stadiums. Laura Millan Lombrana, Bloomberg.com, "Spain’s Soccer League May Resume Games in June After Virus," 23 May 2020 The lawsuit doesn't specify the nature of accommodations Norton was granted for his fourth attempt at the board exam. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Former dental student sues Marquette after he failed to achieve professional degree," 23 May 2020 Although the company expects to conduct layoffs, company leadership did not specify which divisions or how many jobs are at stake. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "IBM laying off thousands, seeking “flexibility” during COVID-19 crisis," 22 May 2020 The complaint does not specify the damages Daly is seeking. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, "Derek Daly files lawsuit against Bob Lamey, Colts and Emmis over racial slur," 21 May 2020 The data did not specify how many new prisoners the bureau accepted. NBC News, "Early release of Cohen and Manafort shows how unfair prison system is, experts say," 21 May 2020 While the CARES Act itself does not specify that funding recipients must be legal U.S. residents, Phoenix City Attorney Cris Meyer told the council that the funds are likely subject to other federal and state laws that require residency. Jessica Boehm, azcentral, "Advocates ask Phoenix to provide COVID-19 relief funds to undocumented Arizonans," 18 May 2020

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

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Specify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/specify. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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

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