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From Old French specialte, especialte, from Latin specialitas.


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈspɛʃəlti/
  • (file)


specialty (plural specialties) (American spelling)

  1. That in which one specializes; a chosen expertise or talent.
    They cook well overall, but their true specialty is pasta.
    • 1858, Charles Kingsley, “My Winter-Garden”, in Fraser’s Magazine[1], volume 57, page 410:
      Even men of boundless knowledge, like Humboldt, must have had once their speciality, their pet subject, or they would have, strictly speaking, no knowledge at all.
  2. A product that originates in and is characteristic of a place.
  3. (obsolete) Particularity.
  4. A particular or peculiar case.
  5. An attribute or quality peculiar to a species.
  6. (law) A contract or obligation under seal; a contract by deed; a writing, under seal, given as security for a debt particularly specified.
    • c. 1590–1592 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene i]:
      Let specialties be therefore drawne betweene vs,
      That couenants may be kept on either hand.
    • 1812, Joseph Chitty, A Treatise on Pleading, with a Collection of Practical Precedents, and Notes Thereon, 2nd American edition, edited by Thomas Day, New York, Volume 2, section 456, note c,[2]
      [] in a plea to an action of debt on specialty, it is still necessary to show that the debt on which the judgment was recovered was a specialty, or to aver that the judgment was recovered before the defendant had notice of the plaintiff’s demand.

Related terms[edit]