Synonyms & Antonyms of specific

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 of a particular or exact sort
  • we need a specific type of pen to sign the diplomas

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2 so clearly expressed as to leave no doubt about the meaning
  • specific instructions regarding the interrogation of prisoners

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Synonyms & Antonyms of specific (Entry 2 of 2)

2 a single piece of information
  • although the speech was long on rhetoric and platitudinous generalities, it lacked specifics

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3 something that sets apart an individual from others of the same kind
  • the two submissions differ only in certain specifics

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Frequently Asked Questions About specific

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

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Time Traveler for specific

Time Traveler

The first known use of specific was circa 1631

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Cite this Entry

“Specific.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on specific

Dictionary: Definition of specific

Medical Dictionary: Definition of specific

Nglish: Translation of specific for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of specific for Arabic Speakers

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