special

[ spesh-uhl ]
/ ˈspɛʃ əl /

adjective

noun

QUIZZES

HEED THE VOX POPULI, AND TAKE THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ!

Test your memory on these verbal firecrackers from the week of June 29 to July 5!
Question 1 of 7
anchorite

Origin of special

1175–1225; Middle English (adj.) < Latin speciālis of a given species, equivalent to speci(ēs) species + -ālis -al1; see especial

SYNONYMS FOR special

ANTONYMS FOR special

synonym study for special

5. Special, particular, specific refer to something pointed out for attention and consideration. Special means given unusual treatment because of being uncommon: a special sense of a word. Particular implies something selected from the others of its kind and set off from them for attention: a particular variety of orchid. Specific implies plain and unambiguous indication of a particular instance, example, etc.: a specific instance of cowardice.

usage note for special

In American English the adjective special is overwhelmingly more common than especial in all senses: He will be of special help if you can't understand the documentation. The reverse is true of the adverbs; here especially is by far the more common: He will be of great help, especially if you have trouble understanding the documentation. Only when the sense “specifically” is intended is specially more idiomatic: The machine was specially designed for use by a left-handed operator.

OTHER WORDS FROM special

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH special

especially specially (see synonym study at especially) (see usage note at the current entry)specially specialty
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for interspecial

special
/ (ˈspɛʃəl) /

adjective

noun

verb -cials, -cialling or -cialled (tr)

NZ informal to advertise and sell (an item) at a reduced pricewe are specialling butter this week

Derived forms of special

specially, adverbspecialness, noun

Word Origin for special

C13: from Old French especial, from Latin speciālis individual, special, from speciēs appearance, species

undefined special

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