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SPEAR-FOOT, n. [spear and foot.]

The far foot behind; used of a horse. – Encyc.

SPEAR-GRASS, n. [spear and grass.]

  1. A long, stiff grass. – Shak.
  2. In New England, this name is given to a species of Poa.


  1. Piercing or killing with a spear.
  2. Shooting into a long stem.

SPEAR'MAN, n. [spear and man.]

One who is armed with a spear. – Ps. lxviii.

SPEAR'MINT, n. [spear and mint.]

A plant of the genus Mentha; a species of mint. In New England, Mentha viridis.


A plant.


A plant; the popular name of the Ranunculus flammula.


A woodpecker. [Not in use or local.] – Sherwood.

SPE'CIAL, a. [Fr.; It. speziale; Sp. especial; from L. specialis, from species, form, figure, sort, from specio, to see. Hence species, primarily, is appearance, that which is presented to the eye. This word and especial are the same.]

  1. Designating a species or sort. A special idea is called by the schools a species. – Watts.
  2. Particular; peculiar; noting something more than ordinary. She smiles with a special grace. Our Savior is represented every where in Scripture as the special patron of the poor and afflicted. – Atterbury.
  3. Appropriate; designed for a particular purpose. A private grant is made by a special act of parliament or of congress.
  4. Extraordinary; uncommon. Our charities should be universal, but chiefly exercised on special opportunities. – Sprat.
  5. Chief in excellence. The king hath drawn / The special head of all the land together. – Shak. Special administration, in law, is one in which the power of an administrator is limited to the administration of certain specific effects, and not the effects in general of the deceased. – Blackstone. Special bail, consists of actual sureties recognized to answer for the appearance of a person in court; as distinguished from common bail, which is nominal. – Blackstone. Special balif, is a bailif appointed by the sherif, for making arrests and serving processes. Special contract. [See Specialty.] Special demurrer, is one in which the cause of demurrer is particularly stated. Special imparlance, is one in which there is a saving of all exceptions to the writ or count, or of all exceptions whatsoever. – Blackstone. Special jury, is one which is called upon motion of either party, when the cause is supposed to require it. – Blackstone. Special matter in evidence, the particular facts in the case on which the defendant relies. Special plea, in bar, is a plea which sets forth the particular facts or reasons why the plaintif's demand should he barred, as a release, accord, &c. – Blackstone. Special property, a qualified or limited property, as the property which a man acquires in wild animals, by reclaiming them. Special session of a court, an extraordinary session; a session beyond the regular stated sessions; or in corporations and counties in England, a petty session held by a few justices for dispatching small business. – Blackstone. Special statute, is a private act of the legislature, such respects a private person or individual. Special tail, is where a gift is restrained to certain heirs of the donee's body, and does not descend to the heirs in general. – Blackstone. Special verdict, is a verdict in which the jury find the facts and state them as proved, but leave the law arising from the facts to be determined by the court. Another method of finding a special verdict, is when the jury find a verdict generally for the plaintif, but subject to the opinion of the court on a special case stated by the counsel on both sides, with regard to a matter of law. – Blackstone. Special warrant, a warrant to take a person and bring him before a particular justice who granted the warrant.


A particular. [Not used.] – Hammond.


To mention specially. [Not in use.] – Sheldon.


  1. Particularly; in a manner beyond what is common, or out of the ordinary course. Every signal deliverance from danger ought to be specially noticed as a divine interposition.
  2. For a particular purpose. A meeting of the legislature is specially summoned.
  3. Chiefly; especially.


  1. Particularity. Specially of rule hath been neglected. – Shak.
  2. A particular or peculiar case. Note. This word is now little used in the senses above. Its common acceptation is,
  3. A special contract; an obligation or bond; the evidence of a debt by deed or instrument under seal. Such a debt is called a debt by specialty, in distinction from simple contract. – Blackstone.

SPE-CIE, n. [spe'shy.]

Coin; copper, silver or gold coined and used as a circulating medium of commerce. [See Special.]

SPE-CIES, n. [spe'shiz; L. from specio, to see. See Special.]

  1. In zoology and botany, all individuals that are precisely alike in every character not capable of change by any accidental circumstances, and capable of uniform, invariable, and permanent continuance by natural propagation. All changes produced by accidental causes, in individuals of a species, and which are not capable of uniform, invariable, and permanent continuance by natural propagation, indicate und mark what are called varieties. There are as many species as there are different invariable forms or structures of vegetables. – Martyn.
  2. In logic, a special idea, corresponding to the specific distinctions of things in nature. – Watts.
  3. Sort; kind; in a loose sense; as, a species of low cunning in the world; a species of generosity; a species of cloth.
  4. Appearance to the senses; visible or sensible representation. An apparent diversity between the species visible and audible, is that the visible doth not mingle in the medium, but the audible doth. – Bacon. The species of letters illuminated with indigo and violet. [Little used.] – Newton.
  5. Representation to the mind. Wit … the faculty of imagination in the writer, which searches over all the memory for the species or ideas of those things which it designs to represent. [Little used.] – Dryden.
  6. Show; visible exhibition. Shows and species serve best with the common people. [Not in use.] – Bacon.
  7. Coin, or coined silver and gold, used as a circulating medium; as, the current species of Europe. – Arbuthnot. In modern practice, this word is contracted into specie. What quantity of specie has the bank in its vault? What is the amount of all the current specie in the country? What is the value in specie, of a bill of exchange? We receive payment for goods in specie, not in bank notes.
  8. In pharmacy, a simple; a component part of a compound medicine. – Johnson. Quincy.
  9. The old pharmaceutical term for powders. – Parr.

SPE-CIF'IC, or SPE-CIF'IC-AL, a. [Fr. specifique; It. specifico.]

  1. That makes a thing of the species of which it is; designating the peculiar property or properties of a thing, which constitute its species, and distinguish it from other things. Thus we say, the specific form of an animal or a plant; The specific form of a cube or square; the specific qualities of a plant or a drug; the specific difference between an acid and an alkali; the specific distinction between virtue and vice. Specific difference is that primary attribute which distinguishes each species from one another. – Watts.
  2. In medicine, curing disease upon some principle peculiar to the supposed specific, a principle not common to two or more remedies; or infallibly curing all cases of certain diseases, to which the specific is deemed appropriate. Specific character, in botany, a circumstance or circumstances distinguishing one species from every other species of the same genus. – Martyn. Specific gravity, in philosophy, the weight that belongs to an equal bulk of each body. [See Gravity.] Specific name, in botany, is the trivial name, as distinguished from the generic name. – Martyn. Specific name is now used for the name which, appended to the name of the genus, constitutes the distinctive name of the species; but it was originally applied by Linnæus to the essential character of the species, or the essential difference. The present specific name he at first called the trivial name. – Smith.


  1. In medicine, a remedy that cures diseases upon some principle peculiar to itself, and not common to any two or more remedies.
  2. A remedy which infallibly cures all cases of certain diseases, to which it is deemed appropriate. No such thing as a specific, in either of these senses, exists.


In such a manner as to constitute a species; according to the nature of the species. A body is specifically lighter than another, when it has less weight in the same bulk than the other. Human reason … differs specifically from the fantastic reason of brutes. – Grew. … Those several virtues that are specifically requisite to a due performance of duty. – South.

SPE-CIF'IC-ATE, v.t. [L. species, form, and facio, to make.]

To show, mark or designate the species, or the distinguishing particulars of a thing; to specify.


  1. The act of determining by a mark or limit; notation of limits. This specification or limitation of the question hinders the disputers from wandering away from the precise point of inquiry. – Watts.
  2. The act of specifying; designation of particulars; particular mention; as, the specification of a charge against a military or naval officer.
  3. Article or thing specified.


Particular mark of distinction. – Annot. on Glanville.


Particularized; specially named.

SPEC'I-FY, v.t. [Fr. specifier; It. specificare.]

To mention or name, as a particular thing; to designate in words, so as to distinguish a thing from every other; as, to specify the uses of a plant; to specify the articles one wants to purchase. He has there given us an exact geography of Greece, where the countries and the uses of their soils are specified. – Pope.


Naming. or designating particularly.

SPEC'I-MEN, n. [L. from species, with the termination men, which corresponds in sense to the English hood or ness.]

A sample; a part or small portion of any thing, intended to exhibit the kind and quality of the whole, or of something not exhibited; as, a specimen of a man's hand-writing; a specimen of painting or composition; a specimen of one's art or skill.