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 specialty

Contemporary Examples of specialty

  • MK Chambers Company    Michigan-based supplier of specialty machining.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The 26 Next Hobby Lobbys

    Abby Haglage

    December 17, 2014

  • Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation A Pennsylvania-based wood cabinet and specialty products manufacturer.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The 26 Next Hobby Lobbys

    Abby Haglage

    December 17, 2014

  • The notion to morph a specialty tortilla chip into a taco shell at first may sound like it would be a snap.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Taste Sensation Innovation

    September 18, 2014

  • Back in the 1990s, he ran afoul of the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO), the certifying organization for his specialty.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Rand Paul and the Certification Racket

    Russell Saunders

    August 11, 2014

  • His family ran a butcher shop in a part of town so tough that their specialty was broken leg of lamb.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Toledo: The Town Too Tough for Toxic Water

    P. J. O’Rourke

    August 4, 2014

Historical Examples of specialty

British Dictionary definitions for specialty


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 specialty

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

specialty in Medicine




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.