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’
    • ‘The specificity of architectural form depends on tightly defined relations of elements.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A lack of specificity becomes an issue when they decline to identify any of the tax loopholes they propose closing.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘Individuals with the same history of sensitization have similar patterns of antibody specificities to latex proteins.’
      • ‘These cytokeratins usually retain their tissue specificity in their neoplastic counterparts.’
      • ‘Presently, this alkaloid in urine is the biomarker of choice, given its specificity and relatively long half-life.’
      • ‘Specificity of these bonds was confirmed by hybridization.’
      • ‘The specificity of this stain for this group of tumours is much lower.’
    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%’
      • ‘In the remaining studies, the calculated and reported specificities were the same.’
      • ‘Both MRI and MRI arthrograms have poor sensitivity in detecting articular cartilage injury, but when it is detected, specificity is 100 per cent.’
      • ‘Combinations of signs and symptoms may increase the specificity.’
      • ‘The staging system has been modified to provide greater specificity for identifying patient groups with similar prognosis and treatment options.’
      • ‘Exercise testing performed with myocardial perfusion imaging improves the sensitivity and specificity for the detection of restenosis.’