something specific, as a statement, quality, detail, etc.
Medicine/Medical. a specific remedy: There is no specific for the common cold.

Origin of specific

1625–35; < Medieval Latin specificus, equivalent to Latin speci(ēs) species + -ficus -fic
Related formsspe·cif·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·spe·cif·i·cal·ly, adverbpre·spe·cif·ic, adjectivepre·spe·cif·i·cal·ly, adverbun·spe·cif·ic, adjectiveun·spe·cif·i·cal·ly, adverb

Synonym study

1. See special.

Antonyms for specific

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

Examples from the Web for specific

Contemporary Examples of specific

Historical Examples of specific

British Dictionary definitions for specific



explicit, particular, or definiteplease be more specific
relating to a specified or particular thinga specific treatment for arthritis
of or relating to a biological speciesspecific differences
(of a disease) caused by a particular pathogenic agent
  1. characteristic of a property of a particular substance, esp in relation to the same property of a standard reference substancespecific gravity
  2. characteristic of a property of a particular substance per unit mass, length, area, volume, etcspecific heat
  3. (of an extensive physical quantity) divided by massspecific heat capacity; specific volume
Also (rare): specifical commerce denoting a tariff levied at a fixed sum per unit of weight, quantity, volume, etc, irrespective of value


(sometimes plural) a designated quality, thing, etc
med any drug used to treat a particular disease
Derived Formsspecifically, adverbspecificity (ˌspɛsɪˈfɪsɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for specific

C17: from Medieval Latin specificus, from Latin 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

Word Origin and History for specific

1630s, "having a special quality," from French spécifique, from Late Latin specificus "constituting a species," from Latin species "kind, sort" (see species). Earlier form was specifical (early 15c.). Meaning "definite, precise" first recorded 1740.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

specific in Medicine




Relating to, characterizing, or distinguishing a species.
Intended for, applying to, or acting on a specified thing.
Designating a disease produced by a particular microorganism or condition.
Having a remedial influence or effect on a particular disease.
In immunology, having an affinity limited to a particular antibody or antigen.


A remedy intended for a particular ailment or disorder.
Related formsspe•cifi•cal•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.