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[spes-uh-fahy] /ˈspɛs əˌfaɪ/
verb (used with object), specified, specifying.
to mention or name specifically or definitely; state in detail:
He did not specify the amount needed.
to give a specific character to.
to set forth as a specification.
to name or state as a condition:
He specified that he be given my power of attorney.
verb (used without object), specified, specifying.
to make a specific mention or statement.
Origin of specify
1250-1300; Middle English specyfyen < Old French specifier < Medieval Latin specificāre. See specific, -fy
Related forms
[spes-uh-fi-key-tiv] /ˈspɛs ə fɪˌkeɪ tɪv/ (Show IPA),
specificatively, adverb
specifier, noun
misspecified, adjective
nonspecified, adjective
prespecify, verb (used with object), prespecified, prespecifying.
respecify, verb, respecified, respecifying.
underspecified, adjective
underspecify, verb (used with object), underspecified, underspecifying.
unspecified, adjective
unspecifying, adjective
1. detail, indicate, enumerate, stipulate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for specifies
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That, however, specifies no superiority in the methods of the monarchy.

    The Evolution of States J. M. Robertson
  • It specifies the very terms and limits of the authority thus conferred.

    Rienzi Edward Bulwer Lytton
  • Dion Cassius speaks of a census, but he specifies no number.

    A Philosophical Dictionary, Volume 8 (of 10) Franois-Marie Arouet (AKA Voltaire)
  • When we hear the knocks as he specifies we must open the door and let him in.

  • He specifies a famine and a pestilence as following on the stoppage of the grain supply.

    The Evolution of States J. M. Robertson
  • It must be in that sense that Baedeker specifies those 3500 inhabitants.

    Golden Lads Arthur Gleason and Helen Hayes Gleason
  • Among the "works" he specifies, is "a vessel, the dimensions of which are unknown; but fit to cross the ocean."

    The Popham Colony William Frederick Poole
  • This map also specifies the advance of the English in nine columns.

    The Visions of England Francis T. Palgrave
  • Cato himself, who was certainly no disparager of his own merits, says that a great many were killed, but he specifies no number.

British Dictionary definitions for specifies


verb (transitive; may take a clause as object) -fies, -fying, -fied
to refer to or state specifically
to state as a condition
to state or include in the specification of
Derived Forms
specificative (ˈspɛsɪfɪˌkeɪtɪv) adjective
specifier, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Medieval Latin specificāre to describe
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 specifies



c.1300, from Old French specifier (13c.), from Late Latin specificare "mention particularly," from specifus (see specific). Related: Specified; specifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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