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.; distinctive; 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.
extraordinary; exceptional, as in amount or degree; especial:special importance.
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.
Latin speciālis of a given species, equivalent. to speci(ēs) species + -ālis -al1; see especial
Middle English (adjective, adjectival) 1175–1225
5.See corresponding entry in Unabridged 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.See corresponding entry in Unabridged 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.