Definition of special in English:



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

    ‘they always made a special effort at Christmas’
    • ‘She knew that he was making a special effort for her sake.’
    • ‘Coordinators made no special efforts to place department coworkers on the same team.’
    • ‘We made a special effort to do a good performance.’
    • ‘It takes a special effort to have an ISDN line put in.’
    • ‘As he experimented with special lenses and different exposures and paper, his photography became increasingly art-inspired.’
    • ‘This time it's special.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They all had their own special memories of different parts of the gardens.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Make a special effort to create your own family legends.’
    • ‘These special circumstances consist of different things.’
    • ‘She sounds different and special and someone perfect for you.’
    • ‘I may have been wrong: maybe this was going to be as special, just different.’
    • ‘She began to wonder why Jon was so special and different.’
    • ‘She hadn't gone to any special effort to make herself look good for Akihiro.’
    • ‘His normal breakfast had been average, but it would be no surprise to her if he made a special effort for his dream guest.’
    • ‘It seemed different, more special then the rest.’
    • ‘A tuxedo is something different and special, that will help you feel and look like a star.’
    momentous, significant, memorable, of moment, signal, important, historic, festive, gala, red-letter
    exceptional, particular, extra special, unusual, marked, singular, uncommon, notable, noteworthy, remarkable, outstanding, unique
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    1. 1.1Exceptionally good or precious.
      ‘she's a very special person’
      • ‘I had a special place, where no one ever knew about, except Emily.’
      • ‘This special collection is already remarkable for its scope and size, and it deserves our enthusiastic support.’
      • ‘Once an implant has been installed it can't be uninstalled again except with special equipment.’
      • ‘None of us had any special powers.’
      • ‘This woman is exceptional, she's special, she's extraordinary and I have great respect for her.’
      • ‘Nothing was special about today, except how bad it was.’
      • ‘I was this unusual child that was special in my parents' eyes - plus I was very loving with them.’
      • ‘The quality is exceptionally good, even though the special photopaper is expensive at about €5 for 10 sheets.’
      • ‘There isn't anything special about him, except for the fact he's one of the richest men in town.’
      • ‘She never wore the same clothes twice, except for a few special outfits.’
      • ‘She was nothing significant, nothing special, nothing exceptional.’
      • ‘We didn't do anything special, except get ready for Homecoming.’
      • ‘I have no special talents, except being able to sing.’
      • ‘However, the lack of special features make the village children sad.’
      exceptional, particular, extra special, unusual, marked, singular, uncommon, notable, noteworthy, remarkable, outstanding, unique
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    2. 1.2Belonging 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.’
      • ‘There is a function in the game that slows down time temporarily and allows your character to perform special moves.’
      • ‘Perhaps the special character of the place was signalled by ceremonial activities here about 7000 BC.’
      • ‘Although in a boxing game story is of little importance, popular characters should receive special attention.’
      • ‘Each character has special abilities that only they can contribute to continuing the story.’
      • ‘Each title character possesses special abilities that come in handy depending on your style of play.’
      • ‘Scripts are cryptic and are often hard to read due to the many special characters that have unique meanings within the language.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Each character has plenty of special moves’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The special character of South Germany was expressed in the liberal subculture, which had lasting-power and prolonged success.’
      distinctive, distinct, individual, particular, specific, certain, peculiar, definite, express, precise
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    3. 1.3Designed or organized for a particular person, purpose, or occasion.
      ‘we will return by special coaches’
      • ‘High-heel shoes are probably one of the most favorite designs women choose for their special occasions.’
      • ‘General purpose home computers will gather dust as special purpose machines with cool designs and unbreakable software take over.’
      • ‘This occasion is a special honor and treat for me.’
      • ‘Resolution 1115 set up a special committee for this purpose.’
      • ‘Tomorrow's the first day of school, it's a special occasion.’
      • ‘Usually I didn't wear make - up, but tonight was a special occasion.’
      • ‘There was shelving filled with fine silverware and cutlery for the special occasions.’
      • ‘It spoke of a special herb that was designed to cure any illness.’
      • ‘Asparagus is normally cooked, preferably by steaming in the special tall utensil designed for the purpose.’
      specific, particular, purpose-built, tailor-made, custom-built
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    4. 1.4(of a subject) studied in particular depth.
      • ‘Each volume is dedicated to a special topic.’
      • ‘His colleagues would not even respect his views about the teaching of his own special subject.’
      • ‘Housing was a special topic discussed at the last policy meeting on June 29-30.’
      • ‘A further special issue of Accounting History has been commissioned.’
      • ‘Credit cards are subject to extensive regulation, but that is a special topic and put to one side.’
      • ‘She was not alone in rendering living flowers, but she made them her special subject.’
    5. 1.5Used to denote education for children with particular needs, especially those with learning difficulties.
      • ‘They stated that what was required was consistency throughout the waking day, not programmes of special education.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I thought, considering the career in special education, that he would be patient.’
      • ‘Jason had been in a special education classroom for years.’
      • ‘After teaching music at several locations, he found a job teaching a special education class at P.S. 92.’
      • ‘The claimant is a l5-year-old boy with special educational needs.’
      • ‘He attends a school for special educational needs in Spilsby and is looked after by his general practitioner and paediatric services from Boston Hospital.’
      • ‘Schools can provide assessments and special education plans.’
      • ‘All ninth graders get the same schedule unless they attend special education.’
      • ‘I am committed to the principle of inclusive education for children with special educational needs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If one failed re-education, they were dubbed as mentally inept, and put into a school for special education students.’
      • ‘The Applicant is a nine year old boy with special educational needs.’
      • ‘We have her in special education programs to make up for the 16 months of little brain development.’
      • ‘I'm not a morning person, but I like to get up with my husband, who teaches seventh-grade special education.’
      • ‘Paragraph 6.10 deals with the particular problems faced by pupils with special educational needs.’
      • ‘I don't think the answer is special education or Ritalin - just different classes and teaching methods to encourage us to do our best.’
      • ‘Tr. was placed in special education classes all the way through school.’
    6. 1.6Mathematics Denoting a group consisting of matrices of unit determinant.


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

    ‘television's election night specials’
    • ‘During the late 1950s, several hour-long specials were also broadcast.’
    • ‘This is going to be an extraordinary special on Thursday night.’
    • ‘It will air this Sunday night as a television special on ABC.’
    • ‘The image is clean, but about on par with a high-definition broadcast of an old television special.’
    • ‘There are a couple of trailers, some production notes and instant access to some of the specials highlights.’
    • ‘There's usually a special on this radio station my dad listens to and on Sundays, for an hour, they play Irish music.’
    • ‘There are a number of specials produced by the Money Programme team that are broadcast in later evening slots.’
    • ‘It was originally conceived as part of a CBS special.’
    • ‘She has written music for many classical dramatic productions and television specials.’
    • ‘This is the time they highlight specials, spectaculars and exclusives to drive up revenue.’
    • ‘I was just in Nova Scotia for our CBC special on the 11-year-old singer Aselin Debison.’
    • ‘Six of the late ABC anchor's primetime news specials are going to be a part of a two-disc set.’
    • ‘Suddenly I could see how all the specials and talk shows about psychics were part of an overall design.’
    • ‘His special will air tomorrow night on CBS.’
    • ‘At the peak of her fame, she did a musical special for the ABC television network.’
    • ‘The Peanuts specials were staples of prime time television in my childhood.’
    • ‘The artist had created several animated commercials and specials for television.’
    • ‘All of these documentary specials rely heavily on source material for visuals and even sound.’
    • ‘The Eos Orchestra has taped a special for PBS celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the composer.’
    • ‘Channel 4 asked the show to produce an hour-long special.’
    1. 1.1A dish not on the regular menu at a restaurant but served on a particular day.
      • ‘There are some 20 cocktails on the menu plus a selection of five summer specials that are constantly changing.’
      • ‘I had the fish special of hake served with potato purée and oriental-style dressing.’
      • ‘The last page of the menu lists the festival specials, all priced at $5.95!’
      • ‘Delicious weekly specials augment a superb menu, with a robust selection of favorites from America's four corners.’
      • ‘The starter specials of the day included coconut and sweetcorn soup and Kerala spinach soup.’
      • ‘The dinner specials that evening included sausages and hot German potato salad and I was quite hungry.’
      • ‘The heavily accented head of the restaurant read them the specials of the day while passing out the small but mouthwatering menu.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Clarke said competition from pubs is one of the main reasons restaurants have introduced lunch specials.’
      • ‘The Flying Biscuit Cafe has an ever-changing menu, and often features vegetarian specials.’
      • ‘Lulu walked over to the board and with a napkin erased the absurd menu special.’
      • ‘It's the left-hand menu specials that give me hope for the future of Chez Nous.’
      • ‘The fine-dining restaurant specialises in Californian-influenced Italian cuisine including shrimp and lobster specials served to the sounds of a live jazz band.’
      • ‘I counted 20 main courses, if you include the four gourmet sandwiches and the evening special.’
      • ‘Restaurants run food specials for a number of reasons, sometimes because the chef found certain ingredients at a reduced price.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sausage rolls would go down well, especially if the filling was a bit special, perhaps good sausage mince mixed with game or venison.’
      • ‘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.’
      recipe, item of food, course
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    2. 1.2informal A product or service offered at a temporarily reduced price.
      • ‘They offer a handful of weekly specials but otherwise keep prices relatively high.’
      • ‘There are reduced rates and specials being offered within other sections of the market.’
      • ‘I am sure a lot of the merchants will be offering specials.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's a winner when you want to inform a mass consumer audience about a short-term sale, event or special price offer.’
      • ‘Wellington is awash in curry houses, thus they tend to offer specials to entice you to eat there.’
      • ‘She checked mailings for catches in the small print and for any special offers.’
      • ‘Package deals and online specials may offer bigger bargains.’
      • ‘Chef Mike Moody can't wait to offer some flavorful nightly specials that will feature seafood and plenty of flavor.’
      • ‘You could, for example, offer specials, which were very successful for us.’
      • ‘The new owners will serve just beer and wine and will offer daily beer specials.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 will also send information about specials deals, new offers and other things you may be interested in.’
      • ‘Many Web sites offer close-out specials at even bigger discounts.’
      • ‘A family or couple can save money by bulk buying those special offers in the supermarkets.’


  • on special

    • Available for sale at a reduced price.

      ‘they have hamburger buns on special today’
      • ‘One of them is liverwurst, which Larry got on special at the local deli.’
      • ‘Foodtown had it on special for about $10 - an absolute steal.’
      • ‘I'd got some really cute outfits that were on special for like half price and didn't spend that much money.’
      • ‘I expect they had either been abducted or were on special in an aisle I had yet to discover.’
      • ‘It had been on special for 99 cents a tub at Woolies, so we had 8 tubs of it in the freezer.’
      • ‘Now I use paper towels, and buy them in the 12 pack when they're on special.’
      • ‘They're on special!’
      • ‘We have a three pack of socks on special for only a fiver up at the till!’
      • ‘She had bought it last week, on special at Foodland.’
      • ‘"I was comfortable enough to put the Vanilla Twist on special in all our restaurants this month."’


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