- of a distinct or particular kind or character: a special kind of key.
- being a particular one; particular, individual, or certain: You'd better call the special number.
- pertaining or peculiar to a particular person, thing, instance, etc.; distinctive; unique: the special features of a plan.
- having a specific or particular function, purpose, etc.: a special messenger.
- distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual: a special occasion; to fix something special.
- extraordinary; exceptional, as in amount or degree; especial: special importance.
- being such in an exceptional degree; particularly valued: a special friend.
- pertaining to people with singular needs or disabilities, or to their education: disabled students with special needs; state funding for special schools.
- a special person or thing.
- a train used for a particular purpose, occasion, or the like.
- a special edition of a newspaper.
- Theater. a spotlight reserved for a particular area, property, actor, etc.: Give me the coffin special.
- a temporary, arbitrary reduction in the price of regularly stocked goods, especially food; a particularly worthwhile offer or price: The special this week is on sirloin steaks.
- Television. a single program not forming part of a regular series.
Origin of special
SynonymsSee more synonyms for special on Thesaurus.com
- distinguished, set apart from, or excelling others of its kind
- (prenominal) designed or reserved for a particular purposea special tool for working leather
- not usual or commonplace
- (prenominal) particular or primaryhis special interest was music
- denoting or relating to the education of physically or mentally handicapped childrena special school
- a special person or thing, such as an extra edition of a newspaper or a train reserved for a particular purpose
- a dish or meal given prominence, esp at a low price, in a café, etc
- Australian history slang a convict given special treatment on account of his education, social class, etc
- short for special constable
- Australian, NZ, US and Canadian informal an item in a store that is advertised at a reduced price; a loss leader
- NZ informal to advertise and sell (an item) at a reduced pricewe are specialling butter this week
Word Origin and History for nonspecial
early 13c., "better than ordinary," from Old French especial, from Latin specialis "individual, particular," from species "appearance, kind, sort" (see species). Meaning "marked off from others by some distinguishing quality" is recorded from c.1300. In Middle English, also as a noun meaning "sweetheart, lover." Meaning "special train" is attested from 1866. Special effects first attested 1951. Special interests in U.S. political sense is from 1910. Special pleading first recorded 1680s.