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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
spe•cial /ˈspɛʃəl/USA pronunciation
adj. WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2016
- of a particular kind or character;
different:a special key.
- having a specific function, purpose, etc.:a special messenger to greet the ambassador.
- out of the ordinary; remarkable;
exceptional:a document of special importance.
- particularly valued;
outstanding:She's a special friend of mine.
- a special person or thing.
- a temporary lowering of the price of regularly stocked goods, esp. food; sale:The supermarket is having a special on bananas: five pounds for a dollar.
- Show Businessa single television program not forming part of a regular series:a special on alternative medicine.
- of a distinct or particular kind or character:a special kind of key.
- being a particular one; particular, individual, or certain:You'd better call the special number.
- pertaining or peculiar to a particular person, thing, instance, etc.;
unique:the special features of a plan.
- having a specific or particular function, purpose, etc.:a special messenger.
- distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual:a special occasion; to fix something special.
exceptional, as in amount or degree;
- being such in an exceptional degree; particularly valued:a special friend.
- a special person or thing.
- a train used for a particular purpose, occasion, or the like.
- Journalisma special edition of a newspaper.
- Show Business[Theat.]a spotlight reserved for a particular area, property, actor, etc.:Give me the coffin special.
- a temporary, arbitrary reduction in the price of regularly stocked goods, esp. food; a particularly worthwhile offer or price:The special this week is on sirloin steaks.
- Show Business[Television.]a single program not forming part of a regular series.
5 . singular. Special, particular, specific refer to something pointed out for attention and consideration. Special means given unusual treatment because of being uncommon:a special sense of a word.Particular implies something selected from the others of its kind and set off from them for attention:a particular variety of orchid.Specific implies plain and unambiguous indication of a particular instance, example, etc.:a specific instance of cowardice.
1 . general.
In American English the adjective special is overwhelmingly more common than especial in all senses:He will be of special help if you can't understand the documentation.The reverse is true of the adverbs; here especially is by far the more common:He will be of great help, especially if you have trouble understanding the documentation.Only when the sense "specifically'' is intended is specially more idiomatic:The machine was specially designed for use by a left-handed operator.
- Latin speciālis of a given species, equivalent. to speci(ēs) species + -ālis -al1; see especial
- Middle English (adjective, adjectival) 1175–1225
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
special /ˈspɛʃəl/ adj
- distinguished, set apart from, or excelling others of its kind
- (prenominal) designed or reserved for a particular purpose
- not usual or commonplace
- (prenominal) particular or primary: his special interest was music
vb ( -cials, -cialling, -cialled)(transitive)
- a special person or thing, such as an extra edition of a newspaper or a train reserved for a particular purpose
- a dish or meal given prominence, esp at a low price, in a café, etc
- short for special constable
- Austral NZ US Canadian informal an item in a store that is advertised at a reduced price; a loss leader
Etymology: 13th Century: from Old French especial, from Latin speciālis individual, special, from speciēs appearance, speciesˈspecially adv ˈspecialness n
- NZ informal to advertise and sell (an item) at a reduced price
'special' also found in these entries: