[ spek ]
/ spɛk /


a small spot differing in color or substance from that of the surface or material upon which it appears or lies: Specks of soot on the window sill.
a very little bit or particle: We haven't a speck of sugar.
something appearing small by comparison or by reason of distance: By then the town was just a speck.

verb (used with object)

to mark with, or as with, a speck or specks.

Nearby words

  1. specimen plant,
  2. speciosity,
  3. specious,
  4. specious present,
  5. speciously,
  6. speckedness,
  7. speckle,
  8. speckle interferometry,
  9. speckle pattern,
  10. speckled

Origin of speck

before 900; Middle English specke, Old English specca; cognate with Dutch spikkel

Related formsspeck·ed·ness [spek-id-nis] /ˈspɛk ɪd nɪs/, nounspeck·less, adjectivespeck·less·ly, adverbspeck·less·ness, noun

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

Examples from the Web for speck

British Dictionary definitions for speck


/ (spɛk) /


a very small mark or spot
a small or tiny piece of something


(tr) to mark with specks or spots

Word Origin for speck

Old English specca; related to Middle Dutch spekelen to sprinkle

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 speck



Old English specca "small spot, stain," of unknown origin; probably related to Dutch speckel "speck, speckle," Middle Dutch spekelen "to sprinkle." Meaning "tiny bit" developed c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper