from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Explicitly set forth; definite. See Synonyms at explicit.
  • adj. Relating to, characterizing, or distinguishing a species.
  • adj. Special, distinctive, or unique: specific qualities and attributes.
  • adj. Intended for, applying to, or acting on a particular thing: a specific remedy for warts.
  • adj. Concerned particularly with the subject specified. Often used in combination: "age-specific voting patterns” ( A. Dianne Schmidley).
  • adj. Designating a disease produced by a particular microorganism or condition.
  • adj. Having a remedial influence or effect on a particular disease.
  • adj. Immunology Having an affinity limited to a particular antibody or antigen.
  • adj. Designating a customs charge levied on merchandise by unit or weight rather than according to value.
  • adj. Designating a commodity rate applicable to the transportation of a single commodity between named points.
  • n. Something particularly fitted to a use or purpose.
  • n. A remedy intended for a particular ailment or disorder.
  • n. A distinguishing quality or attribute.
  • n. Distinct items or details; particulars.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. explicit or definite
  • adj. Pertaining to a species.
  • adj. pertaining to a taxon at the rank of species
  • adj. special, distinctive or unique
  • adj. intended for, or applying to a particular thing
  • adj. being a remedy for a particular disease
  • adj. limited to a particular antibody or antigen
  • adj. of a value divided by mass (e.g. specific orbital energy)
  • adj. similarly referring to a value divided by any measure which acts to standardize it (e.g. thrust specific fuel consumption, referring to fuel consumption divided by thrust)
  • adj. a measure compared with a standard reference value by division, to produce a ratio without unit or dimension (e.g. specific refractive index is a pure number, and is relative to that of air)
  • n. A distinguishing attribute or quality.
  • n. Something particularly adapted for a particular use, as a remedy for a particular disorder
  • n. Specification
  • n. The details; particulars.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to a species; characterizing or constituting a species; possessing the peculiar property or properties of a thing which constitute its species, and distinguish it from other things
  • adj. Specifying; definite, or making definite; limited; precise; discriminating.
  • adj. Exerting a peculiar influence over any part of the body; preventing or curing disease by a peculiar adaptation, and not on general principles.
  • n. A specific remedy. See specific, a., 3.
  • n. Anything having peculiar adaption to the purpose to which it is applied.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • That is specified or defined; distinctly named, formulated, or determined; of a special kind or a definite tenor; determinate; explicit: as, a specific sum of money; a specific offer; specific, obligations or duties; a specific aim or pursuit.
  • Pertaining to or accordant with what is specified or determined; relating to or regarding a definite subject; conformable to special occasion or requirement, prescribed terms, or known conditions; having a special use or application.
  • Of or pertaining to a species.
  • Peculiar; special.
  • In law, having a certain or well-defined form or designation; observing a certain form; precise.
  • In medicine, related to special infection, particularly syphilitic infection; produced by some distinct zymotic poison.
  • Synonyms and
  • Particular, etc. See special.
  • n. Something adapted or expected to produce a specific effect; that which is, or is supposed to be, capable of infallibly bringing about a desired result; especially, a remedy which cures, or tends to cure, a certain disease, whatever may be its manifestations, as mercury used as a remedy for syphilis.
  • n. A definite substance in the serum of an animal that gives rise to a special kind of immunity.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. stated explicitly or in detail
  • n. a fact about some part (as opposed to general)
  • adj. being or affecting a disease produced by a particular microorganism or condition; used also of stains or dyes used in making microscope slides
  • n. a medicine that has a mitigating effect on a specific disease
  • adj. (sometimes followed by `to') applying to or characterized by or distinguishing something particular or special or unique
  • adj. relating to or distinguishing or constituting a taxonomic species


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Late Latin specificus : Latin speciēs, kind, species; see species + Latin -ficus, -fic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French specifique, from Late Latin specificus ("specific, particular"), from Latin speciēs ("kind") + faciō ("make").


  • The arbiter appears to the undersigned to have viewed the rivers St. John and Restigouche as possessing both a specific and a generic character; that considered _alone_ they were _specific_ ', and the designation in the treaty of "rivers falling into the Atlantic" was inapplicable to them; that considered _In connection with other rivers_ they were _generic_ and were embraced in the terms of the treaty, but that as their connection with other rivers would bring them within a principle which, according to the views taken by him of other parts of the question, was equally realized by both lines, it would be hazardous to allow them any weight in deciding the disputed boundary.

    A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents Volume 3, part 2: Martin Van Buren

  • Your referral to instant runoff voting in specific is particularly odd, given that IRV is neither a Democratic nor a Republican issue (with both McCain and Dean strongly supporting it), and is limited in popularity to conservatives or liberals.

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  • The term specific gas production (Gp, measured in m³ gas/m³ Vd x day) supplements the above expression by defining the digester's biogas output. pH/volatile acids

    5. Biogas technique

  • We are now prepared to ask whether (a) the differences between angels are always specific and never individual differences, or (b) both specific and individual differences; and (c) if specific, in which sense of the term specific—the metaphysical or the biological sense.

    The Angels and Us

  • Bearing in mind that for such substances the term specific resistance has no very definite meaning, M. Bouty considers it is not less than 3.19 x 1028 E.M. units at ordinary temperatures.

    On Laboratory Arts

  • The term specific is used here in its ordinary sense, without raising the question of the propriety of its application to these or other remedies.

    Complete Project Gutenberg Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Works

  • "Although deals are still struck on a name specific basis, there are definitely signs that lending restrictions are being lifted and a wider spectrum of names being consider," he said.

  • Record Collector gets a look-in every now and again - I'm a sucker for the label specific things they do; "Great Vertigo / Island / Harvest collectables", that sort of thing.

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  • Al Gore thinks he has a winner here with what he calls a specific, with emphasis on the word "specific," prescription drug plan.

    CNN Transcript - Special Event: Gore Delivers Medicare Address in Tallahassee, Florida - August 28, 2000

  • I tend to think of it as something domain specific, that is, I love foobar widgets or some niche topic and I show my love by showing that widget or whatever on my desktop.

    Breakfast Links: Voltron, Social Wallpapering & Harry Potter : #comments


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  • Be more or less specific.

    January 25, 2007