[ spi-sif-ik ]
See synonyms for: specificspecificsspecifically on Thesaurus.com

  1. having a special application, bearing, or reference; specifying, explicit, or definite: to state one's specific purpose.

  2. specified, precise, or particular: a specific sum of money.

  1. peculiar or proper to somebody or something, as qualities, characteristics, effects, etc.: His specific problems got him into trouble.

  2. of a special or particular kind.

  3. concerned specifically with the item or subject named (used in combination): The Secretary addressed himself to crop-specific problems.

  4. Biology. of or relating to a species: specific characters.

  5. Medicine/Medical.

    • (of a disease) produced by a special cause or infection.

    • (of a remedy) having special effect in the prevention or cure of a certain disease.

  6. Immunology. (of an antibody or antigen) having a particular effect on only one antibody or antigen or affecting it in only one way.

  7. Commerce. noting customs or duties levied in fixed amounts per unit, as number, weight, or volume.

  8. Physics.

    • designating a physical constant that, for a particular substance, is expressed as the ratio of the quantity in the substance to the quantity in an equal volume of a standard substance, as water or air.

    • designating a physical constant that expresses a property or effect as a quantity per unit length, area, volume, or mass.

  1. something specific, as a statement, quality, detail, etc.

  2. Medicine/Medical. a specific remedy: There is no specific for the common cold.

Origin of specific

First recorded in 1625–35; from Medieval Latin specificus, equivalent to Latin speci(ēs) species + -ficus -fic

synonym study For specific

1. See special.

Opposites for specific

Other words from specific

  • spe·cif·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • non·spe·cif·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • pre·spe·cif·ic, adjective
  • pre·spe·cif·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • un·spe·cif·ic, adjective
  • un·spe·cif·i·cal·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use specific in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for specific


/ (spɪˈsɪfɪk) /

  1. explicit, particular, or definite: please be more specific

  2. relating to a specified or particular thing: a specific treatment for arthritis

  1. of or relating to a biological species: specific differences

  2. (of a disease) caused by a particular pathogenic agent

  3. physics

    • characteristic of a property of a particular substance, esp in relation to the same property of a standard reference substance: specific gravity

    • characteristic of a property of a particular substance per unit mass, length, area, volume, etc: specific heat

    • (of an extensive physical quantity) divided by mass: specific heat capacity; specific volume

  4. Also (rare): specifical commerce denoting a tariff levied at a fixed sum per unit of weight, quantity, volume, etc, irrespective of value

  1. (sometimes plural) a designated quality, thing, etc

  2. med any drug used to treat a particular disease

Origin of specific

C17: from Medieval Latin specificus, from Latin species

Derived forms of specific

  • specifically, adverb
  • specificity (ˌspɛsɪˈfɪsɪtɪ), noun

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