noun, plural spe·cial·ties.


Theater. (in vaudeville)
  1. performing or performed in a manner that is unusual or not customary for a type of act, especially a performance involving dexterity or ingenuity, as a patter song: specialty actor; specialty act.
  2. (of a song or dance) isolated from the rest of the show: specialty number.

Also especially British, speciality.

Origin of specialty

1300–50; Middle English specialte < Middle French especialte < Late Latin speciālitās. See special, -ity
Can be confusedespecially specially specialty (see synonym study at especially)

Synonyms for specialty

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

Examples from the Web for specialties

Contemporary Examples of specialties

Historical Examples of specialties

  • She has no dates, nor rites, nor persons, nor specialties nor men.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • But all these things were exactly the young engineer's specialties.

    Herbert Hoover

    Vernon Kellogg

  • He was cursed with the curse of the age; it was an age of specialties, and he had none.

    Garrison's Finish

    W. B. M. Ferguson

  • One of his specialties is the smuggling of arms into foreign countries.

    Secret Armies

    John L. Spivak

  • There is no occasion for quarrelling with these specialties.

    The Book-Hunter

    John Hill Burton

British Dictionary definitions for specialties


noun plural -ties

law a formal contract or obligation expressed in a deed
US and Canadian a special interest or skill
  1. a service or product specialized in, as at a restaurantroast beef was a specialty of the house
  2. (as modifier)a specialty dish
a special or distinguishing feature or characteristic
another word for speciality
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

Word Origin and History for specialties



early 14c., from Middle French especialte, variant of specialite, from Latin specialitatem (nominative specialitas) "peculiarity," from specialis (see special). Speciality is attested from early 15c.; French form spécialité (especially in reference to restaurant dishes) is recorded from 1839.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for specialties




A branch of medicine or surgery in which a physician specializes; the field or practice of a specialist.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.