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See also: Specificker



Etymology 1[edit]

specific (specific remedy) +‎ -k- +‎ -er, originally translating a German word used by Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843).

Alternative forms[edit]

  • Specificker (relatively uncommon, perhaps following German capitalisation of nouns)


specificker (plural specifickers)

  1. (historical of homeopathy, originally pejorative, obsolete) A homoeopathic practitioner who sought to ascertain the aetiologies of diseases, focusing on the symptoms most regularly associated with their diagnosis (to the exclusion of peripheral and occasional symptoms), and who, for their treatment, selected remedies (administered in more-or-less undiluted form) on the basis of their general physiological effects, ignoring incidental and side-effects. [mid- to late-19th c., first attested in 1847 and common in the 1860s.]
    • 1847, J.J. Drysdale, J.R. Russell, and R.E. Dudgeon (editors), The British Journal of Homœopathy V, № xxi, “Dr. G. Schmid’s Homœopathic Treatment with Undiluted Medicines”, pages 257–258, editors’ preamble:
      Those who arrogate to themselves the appellation of orthodox Hahnemannians have travelled far away, under the guidance of Gross, into the mystic regions of the 200th, 800th, and 10,000th dilutions, while the section, by the former styled specifickers, have gradually descended to the lowest numerals in the scale of dilutions until they have attained their ultima Thule in the Schmidian tinctures and first triturations.
    • 1852–3, Robert Ellis Dudgeon, Lectures on the Theory and Practice of Homœopathy (1854), lecture III: “On Specific Medicine, and Attempts at a Theory of Cure”, page 54:
      Those who have been derisively termed specifickers by their opponents…usually arrogate to themselves the title of pures or Hahnemannians. Some difference there must be between the specifickers and the pures…[although it] does not, I believe, consist in any want of that spirit of individualization so necessary for the selection of the appropriate drug on the part of the so-called specifickers, but rather that they endeavour more than their rivals to bring the light of modern pathology to bear on the investigation of the morbid case, and seek to refer, when possible the array of symptoms to the derangement of some particular organ or system.
    • 1860, Clotar Müller, “Repertorium or Therapeutics?” in The British Journal of Homœopathy XVIII, № lxxii, page 179:
      The so-called Specifickers…chiefly rely in the choice of the remedy on certain groups of symptoms, intimately related to the pathology and diagnosis of the disease, and to the so-called general character of the action of the medicine…and also allow great influence to the clinical experience in the final decision.
    • 1863, J.J. Drysdale, R.E. Dudgeon, and R. Hughes (editors), The British Journal of Homœopathy XXI, № lxxxv, “Review: Wilson, Cockburn, and Cameron on Hempel”, page 467:
      The more the specificker relies on the merely general action of the drug (often, indeed, partly ascertained ab usu in morbis), the more he approaches to the allopathists, who will, ere long, equal him or even surpass him.
    • 1865 June, Hugh Cameron (spoken participant), “On the Chemical Treatment of Disease” in Annals and Transactions of the British Homœopathic Society, and of the London Homœopathic Hospital IV (1866), № xxi, page 232:
      It is true that there were in Germany, at that time, numbers of eminent physicians who differed greatly from Hahnemann on the question of the dose (for they administered the mother tinctures); whom he disowned, and designated “specifickers,” in terms of contempt and indignation.
    • 1865 July, J.J. Drysdale, R.E. Dudgeon, and R. Hughes (editors), The British Journal of Homœopathy XXIII, № xciii, “Review: Treatment of Rheumatism, Epilepsy, and Fever, by Dr. J. R. Russell”, page 472:
      They are…very similar to the practical observations of those of our school who draw the indications of the medicine mainly from clinical experience, guided by the more general physiological action of the medicines, i.e., those called specifickers by the more complete homœopathists, who keep in view the finer shades of the pathogenesis.
    • 1866, John James Drysdale, “On the Arrangement of the Materia Medica” in The British Journal of Homœopathy XXIV, № xcvi, page 239:
      The habit once formed in respect to some medicines, soon extends to the better proved medicines, and the practitioner becomes a mere specificker.
    • 1869, Carl Müller, “Peccavi! Vel Peccavi?” in the American Homœopathic Observer VI, page 270:
      Before Prof. M. and “we” were in our teens, even while in our squares (diaper, you know), a certain set styled themselves disciples of pure homœopathy and derided all who differed with them as “Specifickers.”
    • 1876, Transactions of the World’s Homœopathic Convention II (1880), page 20:
      From this time up to 1836 contests were gradually developed between Hahnemann and his followers, which led to a division between the old Hahnemannians and the so-called specifickers, the latter favoring more progress.
    • 1880, John W. Hayward, “Presidential Address” in The British Journal of Homœopathy XXXIX, № clv (January 1881), page 32:
      The men who exclusively and permanently practise with strong tinctures and crude drugs are almost certainly non-symptomatic practitioners, men who are content to take general and pathological indications, and to treat according to the name of the disease — mere specifickers — and very likely to fall back altogether to mere routine and usus in morbis practice.
    • 1902, Richard Hughes, The Principles and Practice of Homœopathy (third edition), page 144:
      In acute and typical diseases, the fewer your remedies the better: but beyond this range, you can hardly have too many. It is here that the mere specificker, the mere organopathist fails; while the full method of Hahnemann wins victories which are a continual source of delight.
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:specificker.
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Formed as specific (explicit, definite, particular) +‎ -k- +‎ -er.



  1. (nonstandard, rare) comparative form of specific: more specific [from 1928.]
    • 1928, Ralph Albert Parlette (editor), The Lyceum Magazine XXXVIII, page 55:
      “Boy, you gotta be mo’ specificker. How do you expec’ me to answer you when you ain’t, to be exac’, asked me nothin’ yet?”
    • 2006, Bob Geary, “random personal questions” in alt.fan.cecil-adams, Usenet:
      I always prefer two specificker words to one generaller one.
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:specificker.