plural noun Informal.

spectacles; eyeglasses.

Origin of specs

First recorded in 1800–10; by shortening





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.

to provide specifications for: Their newest truck was spec'd by a computer.


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

Examples from the Web for specs

Contemporary Examples of specs

Historical Examples of specs

  • And if one of you will just hand me my specs, I'll look over them with you and tell you all about them.

  • He come down the car to the young woman, 'nd looked at her over his specs.

  • Elsie "Specs" was one of the two; the other was known to the street simply as Mame.

  • The Doctor looked at him over his specs, with a broad grin on his countenance.

  • Then Aunt Tilly looked up and her specs were all blurry and wet.

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    Irvin S. Cobb

British Dictionary definitions for specs


pl n informal

short for spectacles
short for specificationsSee specification



on spec as a speculation or gambleall the tickets were sold so I went to the theatre on spec


(prenominal) Australian and NZ speculativea spec developer

Word Origin for spec

C19: short for speculation or speculative
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 specs



short for specification, 1956. Related: Specs.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with specs


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.