See more synonyms for spec on Thesaurus.com
  1. built, done, bought, etc., as a speculation: the construction of spec houses.
verb (used with object), spec'd or specked or specced, spec'·ing or speck·ing or spec·cing.
  1. to provide specifications for: Their newest truck was spec'd by a computer.
  1. on spec, made, built, or done with hopes of but no assurance of payment or a sale; without commitment by a client or buyer: ad illustrations done on spec; luxury homes built on spec and sold before completion.

Origin of spec

An Americanism dating back to 1785–95; by shortening
Related formsspec·’er, speck·er, noun


  1. 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.
  2. a very little bit or particle: We haven't a speck of sugar.
  3. something appearing small by comparison or by reason of distance: By then the town was just a speck.
verb (used with object)
  1. to mark with, or as with, a speck or specks.

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. 2018

Examples from the Web for specking

Historical Examples of specking

  • We have twenty-one of them up, specking the sky as clearly as a bacteriologist's slide is specked with microbes.

    Letters from France

    C. E. W. Bean

British Dictionary definitions for specking


  1. on spec as a speculation or gambleall the tickets were sold so I went to the theatre on spec
  1. (prenominal) Australian and NZ speculativea spec developer

Word Origin for spec

C19: short for speculation or speculative


  1. a very small mark or spot
  2. a small or tiny piece of something
  1. (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 specking



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.



short for specification, 1956. Related: Specs.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with specking


see on spec.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.