Definition for SPE-CIF'IC, or SPE-CIF'IC-AL

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.

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