Definition of special adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈspeʃl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈspeʃl//
    jump to other results
  1. 1  [usually before noun] not ordinary or usual; different from what is normal synonym exceptional The school will only allow this in special circumstances. Some of the officials have special privileges. There is something special about this place. This type of wood needs special treatment.
  2. 2  more important than others; deserving or getting more attention than usual What are your special interests? She's a very special friend. Our special guest on next week’s show will be… Don't lose it—it's special.
  3. 3  organized or intended for a particular purpose a special event These teachers need special training. Dr Pearce is the special adviser on environmental issues.
  4. 4  used by or intended for one particular person or group of people She has a special way of smiling. He sent a special message to the men.
  5. 5  [only before noun] better or more than usual As an only child she got special attention. Please take special care of it.
  6. compare especial
    Word OriginMiddle English: shortening of Old French especial ‘especial’ or Latin specialis, from species ‘appearance’, from specere ‘to look’.Extra examples He was usually to be found in the cafe at his own special table by the window. In special circumstances candidates without these qualifications may be considered. It’s the author’s special way of paying homage to an earlier poet. Journalists were given no special privileges. Police advised residents to take special precautions because of the increase in burglaries. The President ended with a special message for the people of Texas. The choreographer created a special style of dance for each character. The director received a special ovation from the actors. The directors have their own special pension fund. The merger was approved at a special meeting of shareholders. The oil industry was treated as a special case. The speaker paid special tribute to the founder of the organization. There really is something special about the place.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: special