[ ih-spesh-uh-lee ]
/ ɪˈspɛʃ ə li /
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particularly; exceptionally; markedly: Be especially watchful.
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Origin of especially

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English; see origin at especial, -ly

synonym study for especially

Especially, chiefly, particularly, principally refer to those cases that seem to be significant. Especially and particularly single out the most prominent case or example (often in order to particularize a general statement): Winter is especially severe on old people. Corn grows well in the Middle West, particularly in Iowa. Chiefly and principally imply that the general statement applies to a majority of the cases in question, and have a somewhat comparative force: Owls fly chiefly at night. Crime occurs principally in large cities.

usage note for especially

See special.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What's the difference between especially and specially?

Especially means particularly or exceptionally, as in That was especially helpful or This road can be dangerous, especially when it’s icy. Specially most commonly means in a special manner or for a special purpose, as in This was specially made or You were specially chosen for this project.

Perhaps most confusingly, specially is sometimes used as a synonym of especially, though especially is much more commonly used.

Both words are adverbs. Specially is the adverb form of the adjective special. This might be the best way to remember the way specially is typically used, which is to describe something being done in a special way or for a special purpose. On the other hand, the adjective especial is not commonly used. Especially can always be used interchangeably with particularly.

Here’s an example of especially and specially used correctly in a sentence.

Example: The team worked especially hard to specially make all of these decorations in time for the event.

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between especially and specially.

Quiz yourself on especially vs. specially!

Should especially or specially be used in the following sentence?

I had this cake _____ made for your birthday.

How to use especially in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for especially

/ (ɪˈspɛʃəlɪ) /

in particular; specificallyfor everyone's sake, especially your children's
very muchespecially useful for vegans
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