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[per-tik-yuh-ler, puh-tik-] /pərˈtɪk yə lər, pəˈtɪk-/
of or relating to a single or specific person, thing, group, class, occasion, etc., rather than to others or all; special rather than general:
one's particular interests in books.
immediately present or under consideration; in this specific instance or place:
Look at this particular clause in the contract.
distinguished or different from others or from the ordinary; noteworthy; marked; unusual:
She sang with particular warmth at last evening's concert.
exceptional or especial:
Take particular pains with this job.
being such in an exceptional degree:
a particular friend of mine.
dealing with or giving details, as an account or description, of a person; detailed; minute.
exceptionally selective, attentive, or exacting; fastidious; fussy:
to be particular about one's food.
  1. not general; referring to an indefinite part of a whole class.
  2. (of a proposition) containing only existential quantifiers.
  3. partaking of the nature of an individual as opposed to a class.
  1. noting an estate that precedes a future or ultimate ownership, as lands devised to a widow during her lifetime and after that to her children.
  2. noting the tenant of such an estate.
an individual or distinct part, as an item of a list or enumeration.
Usually, particulars. specific points, details, or circumstances:
to give an investigator the particulars of a case.
Logic. an individual or a specific group within a general class.
in particular, particularly; specifically; especially:
There is one book in particular that may help you.
Origin of particular
1350-1400; < Late Latin particulāris, equivalent to Latin particul(a) particle + -āris -ar1; replacing Middle English particuler < Middle French < Late Latin, as above
Related forms
overparticular, adjective
overparticularly, adverb
unparticular, adjective
1, 2. specific. 2. distinct; discrete. 3. notable. 6. scrupulous, careful, exact, precise. 7. discriminating; finical, finicky. 10. feature, particularity.
3. ordinary. 6. inexact. 7. undiscriminating.
Synonym Study
1. See special. 7.Particular, dainty, fastidious imply great care, discrimination, and taste in choices, in details about one's person, etc. Particular implies especially care and attention to details: particular about one's clothes. Dainty implies delicate taste and exquisite cleanliness: a dainty dress. Fastidious implies being difficult to please and critical of small or minor points: a fastidious taste in styles. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for over-particular
Historical Examples
  • However, I must say you are not over-particular about secrecy.

    Virgin Soil Ivan S. Turgenev
  • That they could not be over-particular 222 in the wilderness, they had long since discovered.

    Far Past the Frontier James A. Braden
  • I think he considered me over-particular about a small matter.

    Dwellers in Arcady

    Albert Bigelow Paine
  • Even marriage was a rite about which the settlers were not over-particular.

  • Only, if it be, you need not be so over-particular about the slave-trade, it seems to me.

  • One never can tell, sir—a name's a name and females are sometimes not over-particular.


    Elizabeth Kent
  • It is not over-particular as to soil, and may be increased by dividing the root in the spring.

  • They had confidence and the courage of youth, were bold, and not over-particular as to the means employed.

  • We must not be over-particular on that score, for, as the proverb says, 'a cat in mittens will never catch mice!'

    Modern Flirtations Catherine Sinclair
  • Even Artisarlook—and an Eskimo is not over-particular—found difficulty in eating his breakfast.

    The Boy With the U. S. Life-Savers Francis Rolt-Wheeler
British Dictionary definitions for over-particular


(prenominal) of or belonging to a single or specific person, thing, category, etc; specific; special: the particular demands of the job, no particular reason
(prenominal) exceptional or marked: a matter of particular importance
(prenominal) relating to or providing specific details or circumstances: a particular account
exacting or difficult to please, esp in details; fussy
(of the solution of a differential equation) obtained by giving specific values to the arbitrary constants in a general equation
(logic) (of a proposition) affirming or denying something about only some members of a class of objects, as in some men are not wicked Compare universal (sense 10)
(property law) denoting an estate that precedes the passing of the property into ultimate ownership See also remainder (sense 3), reversion (sense 4)
a separate distinct item that helps to form a generalization: opposed to general
(often pl) an item of information; detail: complete in every particular
(logic) another name for individual (sense 7a)
(philosophy) an individual object, as contrasted with a universal See universal (sense 12b)
in particular, especially, particularly, or exactly
Word Origin
C14: from Old French particuler, from Late Latin particulāris concerning a part, from Latin particulaparticle v
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for over-particular



"a part or section of a whole," late 14c., from particular (adj.). Particulars "small details of statement" is from c.1600.



late 14c., "pertaining to a single thing or person," from Old French particuler (14c., Modern French particulier) and directly from Late Latin particularis "of a part, concerning a small part," from Latin particula "particle" (see particle). Sense of "precise, exacting" first recorded 1814.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with over-particular


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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