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[spek] /spɛk/
a small spot differing in color or substance from that of the surface or material upon which it appears or lies:
Specks of soot on the window sill.
a very little bit or particle:
We haven't a speck of sugar.
something appearing small by comparison or by reason of distance:
By then the town was just a speck.
verb (used with object)
to mark with, or as with, a speck or specks.
Origin of speck
before 900; Middle English specke, Old English specca; cognate with Dutch spikkel
Related forms
[spek-id-nis] /ˈspɛk ɪd nɪs/ (Show IPA),
speckless, adjective
specklessly, adverb
specklessness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for speck
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was one o these cold-blooded gamblers who aint got one speck o decent sentimentality; an he was mad cause we hadnt cheered.

    Friar Tuck Robert Alexander Wason
  • It is a barren rock, and you will hardly see a speck of vegetation on the whole of it.

    Four Young Explorers Oliver Optic
  • A little crimson drop sparkled like a speck of dew at one corner of her colourless mouth.

    Clarimonde Thophile Gautier
  • After a long search I found only one speck of gold, of the value of about 4d.

    A Boy's Voyage Round the World The Son of Samuel Smiles
  • It was a hot day in the middle of July when, up the trail from the south, a speck grew out of the distance.

    Neighbours Robert Stead
  • Look at the way the Woman has the floor swept, till there isn't a speck upon it!

    Candle and Crib K. F. Purdon
  • When at last her legs began to tremble under her, and she stopped to breathe, the house was a speck behind her.

    Dream Life and Real Life Olive Schreiner
  • There was not a weed in the garden without, nor a speck in the house within.

    The Orphans of Glen Elder Margaret Murray Robertson
British Dictionary definitions for speck


a very small mark or spot
a small or tiny piece of something
(transitive) to mark with specks or spots
Word Origin
Old English specca; related to Middle Dutch spekelen to sprinkle
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 speck

Old English specca "small spot, stain," of unknown origin; probably related to Dutch speckel "speck, speckle," Middle Dutch spekelen "to sprinkle." Meaning "tiny bit" developed c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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