special

[ spesh-uhl ]
/ ˈspɛʃ əl /

adjective

noun

Origin of special

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

Related forms

Can be confused

especially specially (see synonym study at especially) (see usage note at the current entry)specially specialty

Synonym study

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

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for special

British Dictionary definitions for special

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

specially, adverbspecialness, noun

Word Origin for special

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

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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