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 On one side, Amendment 1 would change the state Constitution to specify that only citizens can vote in elections in Florida. Skyler Swisher, sun-sentinel.com, "Will Florida’s referendums help or hurt President Trump?," 18 Sep. 2020 The group removed documents, except for excerpts related to topics The Post covered, for 24 hours to allow the USPS to specify which pages should remain unavailable. Washington Post, "Postal Service feared Trump’s rhetoric could cost it billions in Amazon business, documents reveal," 18 Sep. 2020 The economic scope of the order was not immediately clear, and border agency officials declined to specify the dollar value of imports from these companies. Ana Swanson, New York Times, "U.S. Restricts Chinese Apparel and Tech Products, Citing Forced Labor," 14 Sep. 2020 The studio previously released a statement saying Fisher was mainly concerned about his role in the film, has refused to specify his complaints, and did not meet with investigators tasked with looking into the issue. James Hibberd, EW.com, "Jason Momoa affirms Justice League mistreatment on set: 'Serious stuff went down'," 14 Sep. 2020 The Commerce Department is set to specify which transactions are prohibited by Sept. 20. Edvard Pettersson, Bloomberg.com, "TikTok Employee Ignores Chinese Control of ByteDance, U.S. Says," 10 Sep. 2020 The statement did not specify which comments Dennard was referring to. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "2020 DNC live in Milwaukee: Baldwin: Passing Affordable Care Act a 'big effing deal'," 20 Aug. 2020 The statement also did not specify whether the agency would restore mail-sorting machines that have recently been taken offline. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, "Postmaster holds off on changes; after outcry, DeJoy vows no disruption," 19 Aug. 2020 The statement did not specify whether the agency would restore mail-sorting machines that have recently been taken offline. Lisa Mascaro, Anchorage Daily News, "Pelosi says postmaster general has no plans to restore Postal Service cutbacks," 19 Aug. 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

23 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Specify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/specify. Accessed 24 Sep. 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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Comments on specify

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