Definition of specificity in English:



mass noun
  • 1The quality of belonging or relating uniquely to a particular subject.

    ‘the statement of special educational needs lacked specificity’
    count noun ‘the historical specificities of the texts cannot be overlooked’
    • ‘A lack of specificity becomes an issue when they decline to identify any of the tax loopholes they propose closing.’
    • ‘The specificity of architectural form depends on tightly defined relations of elements.’
    • ‘She growled whether I wanted a large or a small mineral water, and when I asked for specificity, she testily conceded that 'large' was a litre.’
    • ‘For the investigators, the specificity of the vandals' targets indicates that the thefts of the major pieces were pre-planned to some degree.’
    • ‘The specificity of art objects needs to be placed back into history, not separated from it.’
    1. 1.1Biology The narrowness of the range of substances with which an antibody or other agent acts or is effective.
      ‘the specificity of the antibody was checked’
      • ‘These cytokeratins usually retain their tissue specificity in their neoplastic counterparts.’
      • ‘The specificity of this stain for this group of tumours is much lower.’
      • ‘Individuals with the same history of sensitization have similar patterns of antibody specificities to latex proteins.’
      • ‘Specificity of these bonds was confirmed by hybridization.’
      • ‘Presently, this alkaloid in urine is the biomarker of choice, given its specificity and relatively long half-life.’
    2. 1.2Medicine count noun The extent to which a diagnostic test is specific for a particular condition, trait, etc.
      ‘the sensitivity of paramedics for diagnosis of stroke was 66%, with a specificity of 98%’
      • ‘The staging system has been modified to provide greater specificity for identifying patient groups with similar prognosis and treatment options.’
      • ‘In the remaining studies, the calculated and reported specificities were the same.’
      • ‘Combinations of signs and symptoms may increase the specificity.’
      • ‘Exercise testing performed with myocardial perfusion imaging improves the sensitivity and specificity for the detection of restenosis.’
      • ‘Both MRI and MRI arthrograms have poor sensitivity in detecting articular cartilage injury, but when it is detected, specificity is 100 per cent.’