a. Explicitly set forth; definite: wrote specific instructions. See Synonyms at explicit.
b. Clear or detailed in communicating: Be specific when telling us what you need.
a. Limited, distinctive, or unique: problems specific to small colleges.
b. Intended for, applying to, or acting on a particular thing: a specific remedy for warts.
c. Concerned particularly with the subject specified. Often used in combination: "age-specific voting patterns" (A. Dianne Schmidley).
3. Relating to, characterizing, or distinguishing a species: a specific name.
a. Designating a disease produced by a particular microorganism or condition.
b. Having a remedial influence or effect on a particular disease.
5. Immunology Having an affinity limited to a particular antibody or antigen.
a. Designating a customs charge levied on merchandise by unit or weight rather than according to value.
b. Designating a commodity rate applicable to the transportation of a single commodity between named points.
a. Something particularly fitted to a use or purpose.
b. A remedy intended for a particular ailment or disorder.
a. A distinguishing quality or attribute.
b. specifics Distinct items or details; particulars.
[Medieval Latin specificus : Latin speciēs, kind, species; see SPECIES + Latin -ficus, -fic.]
spec′i·fici·ty (spĕs′ə-fĭsĭ-tē) n.
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.