Definition of especially in English:

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Pronunciation: /iˈspeSHəlē/


1Used to single out one person, thing, or situation over all others: he despised them all, especially Sylvester a new song, written especially for Jonathan
More example sentences
  • It's a lonely life, especially for a woman on her own surrounded by male musicians.
  • The photo was taken especially for the blog by our latest work experience recruit last week!
  • It will make such a difference, especially for elderly people living on the estate.
mainly, mostly, chiefly, principally, largely;
substantially, particularly, primarily, generally, usually, typically
expressly, specially, specifically, exclusively, just, particularly, explicitly
2To a great extent; very much: he didn’t especially like dancing [as submodifier]: sleep is especially important for growing children
More example sentences
  • As a woman it's especially important to be open and say what you think about it.
  • It is especially important that babies and small children do not become dehydrated.
  • That real and deep sense of solidarity was especially important to us as Muslims.
exceptionally, particularly, specially, very, extremely, singularly, strikingly, distinctly, unusually, extraordinarily, uncommonly, uniquely, remarkably, outstandingly, really
informal seriously, majorly


There is some overlap in the uses of especially and specially. In the broadest terms, both words mean ‘particularly,’ and the preference for one word over the other is linked with particular conventions of use rather than with any deep difference in meaning. For example, there is little to choose between written especially for Jonathan and written specially for Jonathan, and neither is more correct than the other. On the other hand, in sentences such as he despised them all, especially Sylvester, substitution of specially is found in informal uses but should not be used in written English, while in the car was specially made for the occasion, substitution of especially is somewhat unusual. Overall, especially is by far the more common of the two, occurring twenty times as frequently as specially in the Oxford English Corpus.

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Syllabification: es·pe·cial·ly

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