Share this entry

Share this page

special

Line breaks: spe¦cial
Pronunciation: /ˈspɛʃ(ə)l
 
/

Definition of special in English:

adjective

1Better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual: they always made a special effort at Christmas
More example sentences
  • Grandad and I have special food, at different times from other people.
  • It seemed different, more special then the rest.
  • As he experimented with special lenses and different exposures and paper, his photography became increasingly art-inspired.
Synonyms
momentous, significant, memorable, of moment, signal, important, historic, festive, gala, red-letter
1.1Exceptionally good or pleasant: she’s a very special person
More example sentences
  • This woman is exceptional, she's special, she's extraordinary and I have great respect for her.
  • I have no special talents, except being able to sing.
  • Once an implant has been installed it can't be uninstalled again except with special equipment.
1.2(Of a subject) studied in particular depth: I wanted to take the Crusades as my special subject
More example sentences
  • His colleagues would not even respect his views about the teaching of his own special subject.
  • She was not alone in rendering living flowers, but she made them her special subject.
  • Credit cards are subject to extensive regulation, but that is a special topic and put to one side.
2Belonging specifically to a particular person or place: we want to preserve our town’s special character
More example sentences
  • Yuliana belongs to a special caste in classical ballet - she is a character dancer.
  • This title belongs under that extra special list of films that are so bad they're good.
  • The special character of South Germany was expressed in the liberal subculture, which had lasting-power and prolonged success.
Synonyms
distinctive, distinct, individual, particular, specific, certain, peculiar, definite, express, precise
2.1Designed or organized for a particular person, purpose, or occasion: we will return by special coaches
More example sentences
  • High-heel shoes are probably one of the most favorite designs women choose for their special occasions.
  • General purpose home computers will gather dust as special purpose machines with cool designs and unbreakable software take over.
  • Asparagus is normally cooked, preferably by steaming in the special tall utensil designed for the purpose.
Synonyms
specific, particular, purpose-built, tailor-made, custom-built
2.2Used to denote education for children with particular needs, especially those with learning difficulties.
Example sentences
  • You get more money for your school district for special education.
  • She graduated high school on time and entered the UVic English program with the goal of eventually becoming a special education teacher for the blind.
  • If one failed re-education, they were dubbed as mentally inept, and put into a school for special education students.
3 Mathematics Denoting a group consisting of matrices of unit determinant.

noun

Back to top  
1A thing, such as a product or broadcast, that is designed or organized for a particular occasion or purpose: television’s election night specials
More example sentences
  • During the late 1950s, several hour-long specials were also broadcast.
  • It will air this Sunday night as a television special on ABC.
  • The artist had created several animated commercials and specials for television.
1.1A dish not on the regular menu at a restaurant but served on a particular day: customers queue for such specials as vegetable lasagne
More example sentences
  • Restaurants run food specials for a number of reasons, sometimes because the chef found certain ingredients at a reduced price.
  • The fine-dining restaurant specialises in Californian-influenced Italian cuisine including shrimp and lobster specials served to the sounds of a live jazz band.
  • Delicious weekly specials augment a superb menu, with a robust selection of favorites from America's four corners.
1.2A person assigned to a special duty; a special constable or special correspondent: he was one of a detachment of two white policemen and two native specials
1.3 informal A product or service offered at a temporarily reduced price: Mrs Hill was a careful shopper, choosing house brands and in-store specials
More example sentences
  • There are reduced rates and specials being offered within other sections of the market.
  • They offer a handful of weekly specials but otherwise keep prices relatively high.
  • Wellington is awash in curry houses, thus they tend to offer specials to entice you to eat there.

Origin

Middle English: shortening of Old French especial 'especial' or Latin specialis, from species 'appearance' (see species).

Derivatives

specialness

1
noun
Example sentences
  • We'd like to believe that our apprehensions signify our specialness.
  • The specialness of the cinema - and its concomitant rules, including silence, and rituals, such as dressing-up - has gone.
  • The picture of salmon swimming against strong current or leaping waterfalls confirms the specialness of this animal.

Words that rhyme with special

especial

Definition of special in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day resilient
Pronunciation: rɪˈzɪlɪənt
adjective
able to recoil or spring back into shape…