Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

special - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective     special pronunciation in British English
  1. 1
    different from and usually better than what is normal or ordinary

    The children can only stay up late on special occasions.

  2. 2
    more than usual

    Let’s all make a special effort to welcome the visitors.

    Special care must be taken in handling very old books.

  3. 3
    very important to you

    John is a very special person in my life.

    special to:

    My aunt Miriam was very special to me.

    Synonyms and related words
  4. 4
    relating to one particular person, group, or area

    She has her own special way of baking bread.



a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play