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[spesh-uh-list] /ˈspɛʃ ə lɪst/
a person who devotes himself or herself to one subject or to one particular branch of a subject or pursuit.
a medical practitioner who devotes attention to a particular class of diseases, patients, etc.
U.S. Army. an enlisted person of one of four grades having technical or administrative duties, the grades corresponding to those of corporal through sergeant first class but not requiring the exercise of command.
Stock Exchange. a member of an exchange who executes orders in his or her name or for other stockbrokers in a single stock or a particular group of stocks and thus helps maintain the market in those securities on that exchange.
Origin of specialist
First recorded in 1855-60; special + -ist
Related forms
nonspecialist, noun, adjective
prespecialist, noun
subspecialist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for specialist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He spoke to me of a medical man, a specialist, who would understand my case at once.

    Caught In The Net Emile Gaboriau
  • This formula was obtained from Takwatih, as given to him by a specialist in this line.

  • To-day that son is known far and wide as an able specialist in this line of stock breeding.

    Farm Boys and Girls William Arch McKeever
  • Nobody is the least bit shocked by the existence of specialist women.

  • Then a specialist had decided that seven of his side teeth, already studded with gold, must leave him.

    The Roll-Call Arnold Bennett
British Dictionary definitions for specialist


  1. a person who specializes in or devotes himself to a particular area of activity, field of research, etc
  2. (as modifier): specialist knowledge
an enlisted rank in the US Army denoting technical qualifications that entitle the holder to a noncommissioned officer's pay
(ecology) an organism that has special nutritional requirements and lives in a restricted habitat that provides these Compare generalist
Derived Forms
specialistic, adjective
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 specialist

1856 (originally in the medical sense); see special + -ist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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specialist in Medicine

specialist spe·cial·ist (spěsh'ə-lĭst)
A physician whose practice is limited to a particular branch of medicine or surgery, especially one who is certified by a board of physicians.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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