Definition of specific in US English:



  • 1Clearly defined or identified.

    ‘increasing the electricity supply only until it met specific development needs’
    • ‘The researchers can now identify specific types of algae by color.’
    • ‘Clearly defined and specific objectives provide yardsticks for measurement.’
    • ‘Production costs were identified by specific machine.’
    • ‘You must identify clearly the specific children for whom you are making the request.’
    • ‘Identify mutual goals and specific practices to reach these goals.’
    • ‘In rural areas, the division of labor is usually clearly prescribed, with specific tasks assigned to men and women.’
    • ‘He identifies two more specific memories.’
    • ‘She doesn't believe that animals have a mystic ability to identify specific cures for specifically diagnosed diseases.’
    • ‘Maybe there wasn't an exact moment, any specific event, that defined it.’
    • ‘And he said a clearly expressed specific intention that something should be complied with just overrode that general provision.’
    • ‘The claimant clearly did not give any more specific identification.’
    • ‘In this work it is hard to identify specific organs, aside from the pair of yellow mounds at one end that appear to represent lungs.’
    • ‘I have identified and performed a specific research method.’
    • ‘A narrator defines specific passages to be reflected in the music.’
    • ‘The queries tended to be very specific and well defined.’
    • ‘The next step is to define the specific parties involved in the process.’
    • ‘I'm not going to define specific rules.’
    • ‘Clearly his agenda was specific, his devotion to justice absolute.’
    • ‘It is not defined by a specific ideology or doctrine.’
    • ‘It is extremely difficult to identify a specific genera of mushrooms by using standard culture plate techniques.’
    particular, specified, certain, fixed, set, determined, distinct, separate, definite, single, individual, peculiar, discrete, express, precise
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    1. 1.1 Precise and clear in making statements or issuing instructions.
      ‘when ordering goods be specific’
      • ‘While I'm not exactly clear on the specific details, I believe that he is valued by both sides.’
      • ‘The next chapter will be much more specific on this issue.’
      • ‘A friend of mine sent me a copy of the May 2000 issue with specific instructions to read your article.’
      • ‘A letter had arrived this morning with specific instructions for you.’
      • ‘I do not have specific instructions in relation to the facsimile.’
      • ‘Follow the manufacturer's instructions for specific preparation, adhesive and trowel use, and drying time.’
      • ‘Follow the manufacturer's specific instructions.’
      • ‘To issue a specific command, you need to go through a series of sub-menus, selecting the desired option at each level.’
      • ‘On specific issues Mullins was very straightforward.’
      • ‘Ask the store manager or salesperson for specific instructions.’
      • ‘They were under specific instructions not to leave their post.’
      • ‘They had given us specific instructions..’
      • ‘We still don't know exactly who set the specific instructions.’
      • ‘Refer to current labels for specific details and instructions.’
      • ‘Write out specific instructions for your guests.’
      • ‘I wrote out specific instructions on wig making.’
      exact, accurate, precise, correct, error-free, pinpoint, detailed, explicit, express, clear-cut, well defined, unambiguous, unequivocal, meticulous, close, strict, definite
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    2. 1.2 Belonging or relating uniquely to a particular subject.
      ‘information needs are often very specific to companies and individuals’
      • ‘Some events are specific to a particular ethnic group.’
      • ‘It isn't, you know, just specific to Washington at this point.’
      • ‘Some gods were specific to particular towns or places.’
      • ‘It was very specific to that part of the country.’
      • ‘The movements are inspired by things very specific to the soloist.’
      • ‘It is not specific to the work the subject of the Contract.’
      • ‘They crafted advertorial content that was specific to each magazine.’
      • ‘Everything was specific to this particular setting.’
      • ‘The code is specific to this operating system and will not run successfully on other operating systems.’
      • ‘It's so specific to them.’
      • ‘Each disc comes with a documentary unique to the specific subject matter and a general documentary about the show itself.’
      • ‘It is industry problem not specific to this company.’
      • ‘There isn't a lot that is specific to the game.’
      • ‘Many of these policies are specific to individual storage devices.’
      • ‘The situation seems fairly specific to this case.’
      • ‘His skills were specific to the defense industry.’
      • ‘These features are not specific to NAS the company.’
      • ‘The society is something very specific to Detroit.’
      • ‘Some of these papers are highly specific to a particular time.’
      • ‘Whether they are valid or not is specific to each particular situation.’
  • 2Biology
    Relating to or connected with species or a species.

  • 3(of a duty or a tax) levied at a fixed rate per physical unit of the thing taxed, regardless of its price.

    • ‘All specific excise taxes are unfair in that no tax contribution is made by non-consumers.’
  • 4Physics
    Of or denoting a number equal to the ratio of the value of some property of a given substance to the value of the same property of some other substance used as a reference, such as water, or of a vacuum, under equivalent conditions.

    1. 4.1 Of or denoting a physical quantity expressed in terms of a unit mass, volume, or other measure, in order to give a value independent of the properties or scale of the particular system studied.


  • 1dated A medicine or remedy effective in treating a particular disease or part of the body.

    • ‘Licorice root is a specific for low adrenal function.’
  • 2usually specificsA precise detail.

    ‘he worked through the specifics of the contract’
    • ‘The by-laws of the association detail the specifics.’
    • ‘The curriculum begins with the subject area of music, then it moves to the specifics of an instrument.’
    • ‘It might seem impossible to define specifics.’
    • ‘She is keener to discuss life in philosophical terms than the specifics of her new novel.’
    • ‘The rhetoric of both men focused more on moral values than policy specifics.’
    • ‘I just want to focus in on defining the specifics of the issues.’
    • ‘Even on the specifics, this tax cut is not what it is advertised to be.’
    • ‘Application developers need not concern themselves with the specifics.’
    • ‘Aside from the movie's specifics, the subject is a fraught one.’
    • ‘Could you get into some specifics regarding the different types of space fighters and their weapons?’
    • ‘We do not feel we can comment further on the specifics of this issue.’
    • ‘The specifics of the onerous terms of release were not apparent in the unreported decision.’
    • ‘Each case may have specifics that are unique.’
    • ‘Nancy's specifics regarding the storage of the starter confused me.’
    details, niceties, subtleties, finer points, particulars, specifics
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Mid 17th century (originally in the sense ‘having a special determining quality’): from late Latin specificus, from Latin species (see species).