1. One who is devoted to a particular occupation or branch of study or research: an antiquarian who is a specialist in 17th-century Dutch ceramics.
2. A physician whose practice is limited to a particular branch of medicine or surgery, especially one who is certified by a board of physicians: a specialist in oncology.
3. Any of several noncommissioned ranks in the US Army that correspond to that of corporal through sergeant first class.
4. A species with narrow habitat or food requirements: specialists that feed only on carrion.
special·ist, spe′cial·istic adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.