specialize
Pronunciation
  • IPA: /ˈspɛʃəˌlaɪz/
Verb

specialize (specializes, present participle specializing; past and past participle specialized)

  1. To make distinct or separate, particularly:
    1. (obsolete, intransitive) To go into specific details.
    2. (rare, transitive) To specify: to mention specifically.
      • 1616, Richard Sheldon, A Survey of the Miracles of the Church of Rome, Proving Them to be Antichristian, 261:
        Our Sauiour specialising and nominating the places in which these false prophets should teach his presence to be.
    3. (uncommon, transitive) To narrow in scope.
    4. (biology, transitive) To make distinct or separate in form or function.
      • 1835 October, “On the Structure and Functions of the Organs of Respiration”, in West of England Journal, volume I, number IV, page 218 ↗:
        In the lowest orders of being, we find these functions very much blended together, and several of them apparently performed by one simple apparatus ; but in proportion as we rise in the scale, we perceive that they are specialized, or separated from each other, and that a complicated set of organs is appropriated to each of them.
      • 1911 September, Laura Clarke Rockwood, “Food Preparation and Its Relation to the Development of Efficient Personality in the Home”, in Popular Science Monthly, volume LXXIX, pages 281–2:
        Those who insist that a woman’s place is at home by divine decree need only to study the life of primitive man to find out how very human are some of our domestic customs, for they will then see this distinction, that while nature has specialized woman for child-bearing, it is society which has specialized her for housework.
  2. (intransitive) To become distinct or separate, particularly:
    1. To focus one's study upon a particular skill, field, topic, or genre.
    2. To focus one's business upon a particular item or service.
      • 1908 March 27, Pall Mall Gazette, 12/3:
        Firms... which have specialised in the manufacture of ‘heavies’...
      • 1990, House of Cards, Season 1, Episode 1:
        Blackhead: I might look you up myself one of these days. Do you specialise at all, like?
        Penny Guy: Yeah. Verbal abuse and colonic irrigation.
    3. (usually pejorative) To be known or notorious for some specialty.
      • 1923 November 14, Evening Independent of Massillon, Ohio, 5/3
        Watson specializes in adiposeness; none of his chorus beauties may be considered featherweights.
Antonyms Translations Translations


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