sub·​spe·​cial·​ty ˌsəb-ˈspe-shəl-tē How to pronounce subspecialty (audio)
variants or less commonly sub-specialty
plural subspecialties also sub-specialties
: a specialty that is part of a broader specialty
Child psychiatry is a subspecialty of general psychiatry, just as hematology is of internal medicine.Bruno Bettelheim and Alvin A. Rosenfeld
An entire subspecialty known as machine learning is devoted to building algorithms that allow computers to develop new behaviors based on experience.Adam Piore

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Addiction medicine wasn’t recognized as a medical subspecialty until 2015. Nickolas D. Zaller, STAT, 22 Feb. 2021 Newberger thought making child abuse a subspecialty would move the focus further in that direction, and wouldn’t necessarily help children or their families. Stephanie Clifford, The Atlantic, 20 Aug. 2020 The Cleveland Ibn Sina Free clinic offers free mental health, primary care and subspecialty services to individuals who are uninsured or underinsured regardless of one’s ability to pay. John Benson, cleveland, 1 Oct. 2021 By the 1990s, a group of pediatricians focused on child abuse was considering whether child abuse should be a medical subspecialty, requiring additional training and an exam. Stephanie Clifford, The Atlantic, 20 Aug. 2020 As a result, an entire subspecialty of the styling profession has developed focusing on courtroom attire. New York Times, 19 May 2022 Why waste her talents on a subspecialty with not a lot of research activity going on, her mentors pushed? Isabella Cueto, STAT, 2 May 2022 The fact is, Reproductive Endocrinologists (REIs, aka fertility doctors) are trained OBGYNs first, as REI is a subspecialty within that field. Halle Tecco, Fortune, 28 Apr. 2022 Will long-term Covid-19 management become a new subspecialty similar to the not-so-long-ago emergence of the AIDS specialist? Kent Sepkowitz, CNN, 4 Mar. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'subspecialty.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1873, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of subspecialty was in 1873

Dictionary Entries Near subspecialty

Cite this Entry

“Subspecialty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2023.

Medical Definition


sub·​spe·​cial·​ty ˌsəb-ˈspesh-əl-tē, ˈsəb-ˌ How to pronounce subspecialty (audio)
plural subspecialties
: a subordinate field of specialization
child psychiatry is a subspecialty of general psychiatryBruno Bettelheim et al.

More from Merriam-Webster on subspecialty

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