Definition of special in English:



  • 1Better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.

    ‘they always made a special effort at Christmas’
    • ‘She began to wonder why Jon was so special and different.’
    • ‘Make a special effort to create your own family legends.’
    • ‘It seemed different, more special then the rest.’
    • ‘These special circumstances consist of different things.’
    • ‘She knew that he was making a special effort for her sake.’
    • ‘She hadn't gone to any special effort to make herself look good for Akihiro.’
    • ‘This time it's special.’
    • ‘We made a special effort to do a good performance.’
    • ‘Coordinators made no special efforts to place department coworkers on the same team.’
    • ‘She sounds different and special and someone perfect for you.’
    • ‘They all had their own special memories of different parts of the gardens.’
    • ‘A tuxedo is something different and special, that will help you feel and look like a star.’
    • ‘Grandad and I have special food, at different times from other people.’
    • ‘He would not make any special effort to stay on my good side, beyond his normal dislike for conflict.’
    • ‘As he experimented with special lenses and different exposures and paper, his photography became increasingly art-inspired.’
    • ‘His normal breakfast had been average, but it would be no surprise to her if he made a special effort for his dream guest.’
    • ‘I may have been wrong: maybe this was going to be as special, just different.’
    • ‘For boys considered special, different schools were created.’
    • ‘As a school-age child, Swetha considered her special skills no different from any other extracurricular activity.’
    • ‘It takes a special effort to have an ISDN line put in.’
    exceptional, particular, extra special, unusual, marked, singular, uncommon, notable, noteworthy, remarkable, outstanding, unique
    momentous, significant, memorable, of moment, signal, important, historic, festive, gala, red-letter
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    1. 1.1Exceptionally good or pleasant.
      ‘she's a very special person’
      • ‘This special collection is already remarkable for its scope and size, and it deserves our enthusiastic support.’
      • ‘Nothing was special about today, except how bad it was.’
      • ‘We didn't do anything special, except get ready for Homecoming.’
      • ‘She was nothing significant, nothing special, nothing exceptional.’
      • ‘There isn't anything special about him, except for the fact he's one of the richest men in town.’
      • ‘This woman is exceptional, she's special, she's extraordinary and I have great respect for her.’
      • ‘However, the lack of special features make the village children sad.’
      • ‘I was this unusual child that was special in my parents' eyes - plus I was very loving with them.’
      • ‘She never wore the same clothes twice, except for a few special outfits.’
      • ‘I had a special place, where no one ever knew about, except Emily.’
      • ‘The quality is exceptionally good, even though the special photopaper is expensive at about €5 for 10 sheets.’
      • ‘Once an implant has been installed it can't be uninstalled again except with special equipment.’
      • ‘I have no special talents, except being able to sing.’
      • ‘None of us had any special powers.’
      exceptional, particular, extra special, unusual, marked, singular, uncommon, notable, noteworthy, remarkable, outstanding, unique
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    2. 1.2(of a subject) studied in particular depth.
      ‘I wanted to take the Crusades as my special subject’
      • ‘Credit cards are subject to extensive regulation, but that is a special topic and put to one side.’
      • ‘Housing was a special topic discussed at the last policy meeting on June 29-30.’
      • ‘She was not alone in rendering living flowers, but she made them her special subject.’
      • ‘Each volume is dedicated to a special topic.’
      • ‘His colleagues would not even respect his views about the teaching of his own special subject.’
      • ‘A further special issue of Accounting History has been commissioned.’
  • 2Belonging specifically to a particular person or place.

    ‘we want to preserve our town's special character’
    • ‘This title belongs under that extra special list of films that are so bad they're good.’
    • ‘Each title character possesses special abilities that come in handy depending on your style of play.’
    • ‘Each character will have several special attacks which can be executed during battles’
    • ‘Players can catch elemental monsters called Djinni that unleash special attacks and change character stats and class.’
    • ‘Scripts are cryptic and are often hard to read due to the many special characters that have unique meanings within the language.’
    • ‘Although in a boxing game story is of little importance, popular characters should receive special attention.’
    • ‘Efforts will be made to preserve the special character of the city.’
    • ‘Yuliana belongs to a special caste in classical ballet - she is a character dancer.’
    • ‘Each character has plenty of special moves’
    • ‘Perhaps the special character of the place was signalled by ceremonial activities here about 7000 BC.’
    • ‘There is a function in the game that slows down time temporarily and allows your character to perform special moves.’
    • ‘The special character of South Germany was expressed in the liberal subculture, which had lasting-power and prolonged success.’
    • ‘Each character has special abilities that only they can contribute to continuing the story.’
    distinctive, distinct, individual, particular, specific, certain, peculiar, definite, express, precise
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    1. 2.1Designed or organized for a particular person, purpose, or occasion.
      ‘we will return by special coaches’
      • ‘This occasion is a special honor and treat for me.’
      • ‘There was shelving filled with fine silverware and cutlery for the special occasions.’
      • ‘General purpose home computers will gather dust as special purpose machines with cool designs and unbreakable software take over.’
      • ‘It spoke of a special herb that was designed to cure any illness.’
      • ‘High-heel shoes are probably one of the most favorite designs women choose for their special occasions.’
      • ‘Resolution 1115 set up a special committee for this purpose.’
      • ‘Asparagus is normally cooked, preferably by steaming in the special tall utensil designed for the purpose.’
      • ‘Usually I didn't wear make - up, but tonight was a special occasion.’
      • ‘Tomorrow's the first day of school, it's a special occasion.’
      specific, particular, purpose-built, tailor-made, custom-built
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    2. 2.2Used to denote education for children with particular needs, especially those with learning difficulties.
      • ‘After teaching music at several locations, he found a job teaching a special education class at P.S. 92.’
      • ‘I'm not a morning person, but I like to get up with my husband, who teaches seventh-grade special education.’
      • ‘Schools can provide assessments and special education plans.’
      • ‘I am committed to the principle of inclusive education for children with special educational needs.’
      • ‘Jason had been in a special education classroom for years.’
      • ‘They stated that what was required was consistency throughout the waking day, not programmes of special education.’
      • ‘If one failed re-education, they were dubbed as mentally inept, and put into a school for special education students.’
      • ‘I thought, considering the career in special education, that he would be patient.’
      • ‘I don't think the answer is special education or Ritalin - just different classes and teaching methods to encourage us to do our best.’
      • ‘He had to repeat kindergarten because he was shuffled between three elementary schools and was placed in special education classes.’
      • ‘You get more money for your school district for special education.’
      • ‘Tr. was placed in special education classes all the way through school.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He attends a school for special educational needs in Spilsby and is looked after by his general practitioner and paediatric services from Boston Hospital.’
      • ‘All ninth graders get the same schedule unless they attend special education.’
      • ‘The claimant is a l5-year-old boy with special educational needs.’
      • ‘Paragraph 6.10 deals with the particular problems faced by pupils with special educational needs.’
      • ‘We have her in special education programs to make up for the 16 months of little brain development.’
      • ‘The Applicant is a nine year old boy with special educational needs.’
  • 3Mathematics
    Denoting a group consisting of matrices of unit determinant.


  • 1A thing, such as a product or broadcast, that is designed or organized for a particular occasion or purpose.

    ‘television's election night specials’
    • ‘The Peanuts specials were staples of prime time television in my childhood.’
    • ‘Suddenly I could see how all the specials and talk shows about psychics were part of an overall design.’
    • ‘There are a couple of trailers, some production notes and instant access to some of the specials highlights.’
    • ‘His special will air tomorrow night on CBS.’
    • ‘The artist had created several animated commercials and specials for television.’
    • ‘The Eos Orchestra has taped a special for PBS celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the composer.’
    • ‘It will air this Sunday night as a television special on ABC.’
    • ‘There are a number of specials produced by the Money Programme team that are broadcast in later evening slots.’
    • ‘This is the time they highlight specials, spectaculars and exclusives to drive up revenue.’
    • ‘It was originally conceived as part of a CBS special.’
    • ‘At the peak of her fame, she did a musical special for the ABC television network.’
    • ‘I was just in Nova Scotia for our CBC special on the 11-year-old singer Aselin Debison.’
    • ‘She has written music for many classical dramatic productions and television specials.’
    • ‘There's usually a special on this radio station my dad listens to and on Sundays, for an hour, they play Irish music.’
    • ‘During the late 1950s, several hour-long specials were also broadcast.’
    • ‘Channel 4 asked the show to produce an hour-long special.’
    • ‘All of these documentary specials rely heavily on source material for visuals and even sound.’
    • ‘The image is clean, but about on par with a high-definition broadcast of an old television special.’
    • ‘Six of the late ABC anchor's primetime news specials are going to be a part of a two-disc set.’
    • ‘This is going to be an extraordinary special on Thursday night.’
    1. 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’
      • ‘The dinner specials that evening included sausages and hot German potato salad and I was quite hungry.’
      • ‘Delicious weekly specials augment a superb menu, with a robust selection of favorites from America's four corners.’
      • ‘The fine-dining restaurant specialises in Californian-influenced Italian cuisine including shrimp and lobster specials served to the sounds of a live jazz band.’
      • ‘Clarke said competition from pubs is one of the main reasons restaurants have introduced lunch specials.’
      • ‘The heavily accented head of the restaurant read them the specials of the day while passing out the small but mouthwatering menu.’
      • ‘I had the fish special of hake served with potato purée and oriental-style dressing.’
      • ‘Since food and wine menus are printed every day, there are no specials to recite in addition to the wine pitch.’
      • ‘The daily specials appear on giant boards and included French onion soup and courgette with mint served with bread for €4.’
      • ‘Loch Fyne offers a large range of seafood delicacies, with an ever changing specials board to catch your eye.’
      • ‘Sausage rolls would go down well, especially if the filling was a bit special, perhaps good sausage mince mixed with game or venison.’
      • ‘The starter specials of the day included coconut and sweetcorn soup and Kerala spinach soup.’
      • ‘The Flying Biscuit Cafe has an ever-changing menu, and often features vegetarian specials.’
      • ‘Restaurants run food specials for a number of reasons, sometimes because the chef found certain ingredients at a reduced price.’
      • ‘Lulu walked over to the board and with a napkin erased the absurd menu special.’
      • ‘The menu is as all good restaurants should be, very brief with only five starters, seven main courses and four desserts - but no specials I noticed.’
      • ‘The last page of the menu lists the festival specials, all priced at $5.95!’
      • ‘There are some 20 cocktails on the menu plus a selection of five summer specials that are constantly changing.’
      • ‘It's the left-hand menu specials that give me hope for the future of Chez Nous.’
      • ‘I counted 20 main courses, if you include the four gourmet sandwiches and the evening special.’
      • ‘As well as the 15 starters and the 30 main courses, there are a whole bunch of specials that are never listed but always there.’
      recipe, item of food, course
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    2. 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’
    3. 1.3informal A product or service offered at a temporarily reduced price.
      ‘Mrs Hill was a careful shopper, choosing house brands and in-store specials’
      • ‘Wellington is awash in curry houses, thus they tend to offer specials to entice you to eat there.’
      • ‘Look for these specials in the newspaper or on television, or call a couple of stores to find out when the next promotion will be.’
      • ‘I am sure a lot of the merchants will be offering specials.’
      • ‘Package deals and online specials may offer bigger bargains.’
      • ‘The new owners will serve just beer and wine and will offer daily beer specials.’
      • ‘It will also send information about specials deals, new offers and other things you may be interested in.’
      • ‘By clicking on send, visitors are automatically registered and will have the latest special offers e-mailed to them before they appear on the website.’
      • ‘It's a winner when you want to inform a mass consumer audience about a short-term sale, event or special price offer.’
      • ‘Chef Mike Moody can't wait to offer some flavorful nightly specials that will feature seafood and plenty of flavor.’
      • ‘They offer a handful of weekly specials but otherwise keep prices relatively high.’
      • ‘She checked mailings for catches in the small print and for any special offers.’
      • ‘Many Web sites offer close-out specials at even bigger discounts.’
      • ‘You could, for example, offer specials, which were very successful for us.’
      • ‘There are reduced rates and specials being offered within other sections of the market.’
      • ‘A family or couple can save money by bulk buying those special offers in the supermarkets.’
      • ‘Often, dry cleaners will offer two-for-one specials on selected items and on specific days.’
      • ‘Offer sales, specials and even giveaways to attract people into your store.’


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