[ spes-uh-fahy ]
See synonyms for: specifyspecifiedspecifiesspecifying on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),spec·i·fied, spec·i·fy·ing.
  1. to mention or name specifically or definitely; state in detail: He did not specify the amount needed.

  2. to give a specific character to.

  1. to set forth as a specification.

  2. to name or state as a condition: He specified that he be given my power of attorney.

verb (used without object),spec·i·fied, spec·i·fy·ing.
  1. to make a specific mention or statement.

Origin of specify

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English specyfyen, from Old French specifier, from Medieval Latin specificāre “to describe, mention particularly,” from specific(us) specific + āre, infinitive verb suffix

Other words for specify

Other words from specify

  • spec·i·fi·ca·tive [spes-uh-fi-key-tiv], /ˈspɛs ə fɪˌkeɪ tɪv/, adjective
  • spec·i·fi·ca·tive·ly, adverb
  • spec·i·fi·er, noun
  • mis·spec·i·fied, adjective
  • non·spec·i·fied, adjective
  • pre·spec·i·fy, verb (used with object), pre·spec·i·fied, pre·spec·i·fy·ing.
  • re·spec·i·fy, verb, re·spec·i·fied, re·spec·i·fy·ing.
  • un·der·spec·i·fied, adjective
  • un·der·spec·i·fy, verb (used with object), un·der·spec·i·fied, un·der·spec·i·fy·ing.
  • un·spec·i·fied, adjective
  • un·spec·i·fy·ing, adjective

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

How to use specify in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for specify


/ (ˈspɛsɪˌfaɪ) /

verb-fies, -fying or -fied (tr; may take a clause as object)
  1. to refer to or state specifically

  2. to state as a condition

  1. to state or include in the specification of

Origin of specify

C13: from Medieval Latin specificāre to describe

Derived forms of specify

  • specificative (ˈspɛsɪfɪˌkeɪtɪv), adjective
  • specifier, 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