specific 1 of 2


2 of 2


Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective specific differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of specific are especial, individual, particular, and special. While all these words mean "of or relating to one thing or class," specific implies a quality or character distinguishing a kind or a species.

children with specific nutritional needs

Where would especial be a reasonable alternative to specific?

The words especial and specific can be used in similar contexts, but especial may add implications of preeminence or preference.

a matter of especial importance

When can individual be used instead of specific?

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

valued each individual opinion

When could particular be used to replace specific?

The synonyms particular and specific are sometimes interchangeable, but particular stresses the distinctness of something as an individual.

a ballet step of particular difficulty

When is it sensible to use special instead of specific?

In some situations, the words special and specific are roughly equivalent. However, special stresses having a quality, character, identity, or use of its own.

special ingredients

Thesaurus Entries Near specific

Cite this Entry

“Specific.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/specific. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on specific

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!