[ spesh-uhl ]
/ ˈspɛʃ əl /
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.
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Question 1 of 7
Origin of 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
spe·cial·ly, adverbin·ter·spe·cial, adjectivenon·spe·cial, adjective, nounnon·spe·cial·ly, adverb
su·per·spe·cial, adjective, noun
Words nearby special
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for nonspecial
/ (ˈspɛʃəl) /
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
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 specialspecially, adverbspecialness, noun
Word Origin for special
C13: from Old French especial, from Latin speciālis individual, special, from speciēs appearance, species
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