verb (used with object), spec·i·fied, spec·i·fy·ing.

to mention or name specifically or definitely; state in detail: He did not specify the amount needed.
to give a specific character to.
to set forth as a specification.
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.

to make a specific mention or statement.

Origin of specify

1250–1300; Middle English specyfyen < Old French specifier < Medieval Latin specificāre. See specific, -fy
Related formsspec·i·fi·ca·tive [spes-uh-fi-key-tiv] /ˈspɛs ə fɪˌkeɪ tɪv/, adjectivespec·i·fi·ca·tive·ly, adverbspec·i·fi·er, nounmis·spec·i·fied, adjectivenon·spec·i·fied, adjectivepre·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, adjectiveun·der·spec·i·fy, verb (used with object), un·der·spec·i·fied, un·der·spec·i·fy·ing.un·spec·i·fied, adjectiveun·spec·i·fy·ing, adjective

Synonyms for specify

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

Examples from the Web for specify

Contemporary Examples of specify

Historical Examples of specify

  • The indictment does not specify regicide as the prisoner's treason.

  • Passing by many particulars of the discipline of nature, we must not omit to specify two.


    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • We can specify other features of the society connected with this type of household.

    History of Religion

    Allan Menzies

  • But there is no attempt in the Review to specify a whirlwind.

  • I am not bound to specify the labor that he could undertake.

British Dictionary definitions for specify


verb -fies, -fying or -fied (tr; may take a clause as object)

to refer to or state specifically
to state as a condition
to state or include in the specification of
Derived Formsspecificative (ˈspɛsɪfɪˌkeɪtɪv), adjectivespecifier, noun

Word Origin for specify

C13: from Medieval Latin specificāre to describe
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 specify

c.1300, from Old French specifier (13c.), from Late Latin specificare "mention particularly," from specifus (see specific). Related: Specified; specifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper