special case

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special case (plural special cases)

  1. a class of phenomena that is a subset of a more general class
    • 2013, Luc J. Wintgens, The Law in Philosophical Perspectives: My Philosophy of Law, Springer Science & Business Media (→ISBN), page 42
      Habermas, e.g., put forward that the legal discourse should not be understood as a special case of the moral discourse because in law next to moral reasons there are also ethical and pragmatic reasons to play a legitimate part (J. Habermas, Between Facts and Norms, 230 ff.).
  2. a theorem or other statement that follows directly from a more general statement
    • 2008, Andrei D. Polyanin, Alexander V. Manzhirov, Handbook of Integral Equations: Second Edition, CRC Press (→ISBN), page 356
      This is a special case of equation 4.9.10 with .
    • 2005, James Robert Brown, Philosophy of Mathematics: An Introduction to a World of Proofs and Pictures, Routledge (→ISBN), page 33
      Clearly, the Pythagorean theorem is a special case of the more general theorem, arrived at by letting r = 1.




special case (third-person singular simple present special cases, present participle special casing, simple past and past participle special cased)

  1. (transitive, intransitive, chiefly programming) To treat something as a special case; to handle in an explicitly different way.
    • 1988, Jon Louis Bentley, More Programming Pearls: Confessions of a Coder (page 10)
      Special-casing the 100 most common words in English might speed things up.
    • 1992, Scott Knaster, ‎Keith Rollin, Macintosh Programming Secrets (page 46)
      If these programs work as well as they can even without going through QuickDraw, what's the penalty for going around the system and special casing?
    • 2009, Peter Seibel, Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming (page 258)
      Other languages have since special-cased that kind of computation with, for example, generators in Python or something where you can yield values.