Synonyms & Antonyms of special

1 being the one or ones of a class with no other members
  • the President claimed that international terrorism was a special threat that required a special way of dealing with it

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2 granted special treatment or attention
  • one student who was treated as special by the teacher

Synonyms for special

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Antonyms for special

3 of a particular or exact sort
  • you'll need special permission from the fire department to do that

Synonyms for special

Words Related to special

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Antonyms for special

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Frequently Asked Questions About special

How does the adjective special differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of special are especial, individual, particular, and specific. While all these words mean "of or relating to one thing or class," special stresses having a quality, character, identity, or use of its own.

special ingredients

When would especial be a good substitute for special?

The meanings of especial and special largely overlap; however, especial may add implications of preeminence or preference.

a matter of especial importance

When is it sensible to use individual instead of special?

While the synonyms individual and special are close in meaning, individual implies unequivocal reference to one of a class or group.

valued each individual opinion

When is particular a more appropriate choice than special?

In some situations, the words particular and special are roughly equivalent. However, particular stresses the distinctness of something as an individual.

a ballet step of particular difficulty

When can specific be used instead of special?

Although the words specific and special have much in common, specific implies a quality or character distinguishing a kind or a species.

children with specific nutritional needs

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Time Traveler for special

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Special.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on special

Dictionary: Definition of special

Nglish: Translation of special for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of special for Arabic Speakers

Comments on special

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