Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1100-1200
Language: Old French
Origin: especial, from Latin specialis 'particular', from species; SPECIES

special

1 adjective
     
speā€§cial1 S1 W1
1 not ordinary or usual, but different in some way and often better or more important:
a special place in the classroom for reading
No one receives special treatment.
Maria's special recipe for apple pie
The good china was used only on special occasions.
Each village has its own special charm.
anything/something/nothing special
Are you doing anything special for Christmas?
2 particularly important to someone and deserving attention, love etc:
a party with a few special friends
a teacher who made every child feel special
Her second son had a special place in her heart.
3 [only before noun] a special position or job has a particular purpose or aim, and continues only until that purpose or aim is achieved:
Mitchell acted as a special envoy in the Northern Ireland peace talks.
4 [only before noun] more than usual:
Pay special attention to how you clean the wound.

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