[ ih-spesh-uhl ]
See synonyms for especial on
  1. special; exceptional; outstanding: of no especial importance; an especial friend.

  2. of a particular kind, or peculiar to a particular one; particular: your especial case.

Origin of especial

1350–1400; Middle English <Middle French <Latin speciālis pertaining to a particular kind. See special

confusables note For especial

See special.

Other words from especial

  • es·pe·cial·ness, noun

Words Nearby especial Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use especial in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for especial


/ (ɪˈspɛʃəl) /

  1. unusual; notable; exceptional: he paid especial attention to her that evening

  2. applying to one person or thing in particular; not general; specific; peculiar: he had an especial dislike of relatives

Origin of especial

C14: from Old French, from Latin speciālis individual; see special

usage For especial

Especial and especially have a more limited use than special and specially. Special is always used in preference to especial when the sense is one of being out of the ordinary: a special lesson; he has been specially trained. Special is also used when something is referred to as being for a particular purpose: the word was specially underlined for you. Where an idea of pre-eminence or individuality is involved, either especial or special may be used: he is my especial (or special) friend; he is especially (or specially) good at his job. In informal English, however, special is usually preferred in all contexts

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