Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of specific
Meaning of specific by Wiktionary Dictionary


    Alternative forms


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


    • ( UK, US ) IPA: /spəˈsɪf.ɪk/, /spɪˈsɪf.ɪk/
    • Rhymes: -ɪfɪk

    See also


    specific ( plural: specifics )

    1. A distinguishing attribute or quality .
    2. Something particularly adapted for a particular use, as a remedy for a particular disorder
    3. Specification
    4. ( in the plural: ) The details; particulars .

    External links

    • specific in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • specific in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
    • specific at OneLook Dictionary Search

Explanation of specific by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. stated explicitly or in detail

    2. needed a specific amount
    3. applying to or characterized by or distinguishing something particular or special or unique

    4. rules with specific application
      demands specific to the job
      a specific and detailed account of the accident
    5. being or affecting a disease produced by a particular microorganism or condition

    6. quinine is highly specific for malaria
      a specific remedy
      a specific stain is one having a specific affinity for particular structural elements
    7. relating to or distinguishing or constituting a taxonomic species

    8. specific characters
    1. a medicine that has a mitigating effect on a specific disease

    2. quinine is a specific for malaria
    3. a fact about some part ( as opposed to general )

    Definition of specific by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. specific ( spesĭfĭk ), a. [F. spécifique, or NL. spesificus; L. species a particular sort or kind + facere to make. Cf. specify.]
      1. 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; as, “the specific form of an animal or a plant; the specific qualities of a drug; the specific distinction between virtue and vice.”

      Specific difference is that primary attribute which distinguishes each species from one another. I. Watts.

      2. Specifying; definite, or making definite; limited; precise; discriminating; as, “a specific statement”.

      3. ( Med. ) Exerting a peculiar influence over any part of the body; preventing or curing disease by a peculiar adaptation, and not on general principles; as, “quinine is a specific medicine in cases of malaria”.

      In fact, all medicines will be found specific in the perfection of the science. Coleridge.

      Specific character ( Nat. Hist. ), a characteristic or characteristics distinguishing one species from every other species of the same genus. -- Specific disease ( Med. ) A disease which produces a determinate definite effect upon the blood and tissues or upon some special tissue. A disease which is itself uniformly produced by a definite and peculiar poison or organism. -- Specific duty. ( Com. ) See under Duty. -- Specific gravity. ( Physics ) See under Gravity. -- Specific heat ( Physics ), the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of a body one degree, taking as the unit of measure the quantity required to raise the same weight of water from zero to one degree; “specific heat of mercury is 0.033, that of water being 1.000”. -- Specific inductive capacity ( Physics ), the effect of a dielectric body in producing static electric induction as compared with that of some other body or bodies referred to as a standard. -- Specific legacy ( Law ), a bequest of a particular thing, as of a particular
      animal or piece of furniture, specified and distinguished from all others. Wharton. Burrill. -- Specific name ( Nat. Hist. ), the name which, appended to the name of the genus, constitutes the distinctive name of the species; -- originally applied by Linnaeus to the essential character of the species, or the essential difference. The present specific name he at first called the trivial name. -- Specific performance ( Law ), the peformance of a contract or agreement as decreed by a court of equity.

    2. Specific, n.
      1. ( Med. ) A specific remedy. See Specific, a., 3.

      His parents were weak enough to believe that the royal touch was a specific for this malady. Macaulay.

      2. Anything having peculiar adaption to the purpose to which it is applied. Dr. H. More.