WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2018
spe•cial /ˈspɛʃəl/USA pronunciation   adj. 
  1. of a particular kind or character;
    different:a special key.
  2. having a specific function, purpose, etc.:a special messenger to greet the ambassador.
  3. out of the ordinary;
    exceptional:a document of special importance.
  4. particularly valued;
    outstanding:She's a special friend of mine.

n. [countable]
  1. a special person or thing.
  2. 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.
  3. Show Businessa single television program not forming part of a regular series:a special on alternative medicine.
See -spec-.
WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2018
spe•cial  (speshəl),USA pronunciation adj. 
  1. of a distinct or particular kind or character:a special kind of key.
  2. being a particular one;
    particular, individual, or certain:You'd better call the special number.
  3. pertaining or peculiar to a particular person, thing, instance, etc.;
    unique:the special features of a plan.
  4. having a specific or particular function, purpose, etc.:a special messenger.
  5. distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual:a special occasion; to fix something special.
  6. extraordinary;
    exceptional, as in amount or degree;
    especial:special importance.
  7. being such in an exceptional degree;
    particularly valued:a special friend.

  1. a special person or thing.
  2. a train used for a particular purpose, occasion, or the like.
  3. Journalisma special edition of a newspaper.
  4. Show Business[Theat.]a spotlight reserved for a particular area, property, actor, etc.:Give me the coffin special.
  5. 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.
  6. Show Business[Television.]a single program not forming part of a regular series.
special•ly, adv. 
  • 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.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

special /ˈspɛʃəl/ adj
  1. distinguished, set apart from, or excelling others of its kind
  2. (prenominal) designed or reserved for a particular purpose
  3. not usual or commonplace
  4. (prenominal) particular or primary: his special interest was music
  1. a special person or thing, such as an extra edition of a newspaper or a train reserved for a particular purpose
  2. a dish or meal given prominence, esp at a low price, in a café, etc
  3. short for special constable
  4. Austral NZ US Canadian informal an item in a store that is advertised at a reduced price; a loss leader
vb ( -cials, -cialling, -cialled)(transitive)
  1. NZ informal to advertise and sell (an item) at a reduced price
Etymology: 13th Century: from Old French especial, from Latin speciālis individual, special, from speciēs appearance, species

ˈspecially adv ˈspecialness n

'special' also found in these entries:
Collocations: the [daily, nightly, weekly] specials, it is [a, on] special offer, what is today's special?, more...

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