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Vocabulary: Derivation & Meaning of Specialis

by J
(Norway)

Dear Latin Teacher,


What does "specialis" mean, and where/what does it come from?

Thank you
PS: cool site :-)

Dear J,

Specialis is the adjective from the noun species, which means sight, a seeing, a shape, a form, a figure, or an outward appearance.

In scientific Latin, species is the most specific form of biological classification. Species, Genus, Family, Order, Class, Phylum, Kingdom, Domain, Life

Therefore, the adjective specialis describes something that is not general, but rather particular, individual, or special.

At its most basic meaning, it is related to the root SPEC, meaning to look at or to watch and found in English derivatives such as spectator, inspection, spectacle, respect, conspicuous, speculate and perspicacious.

Hope this helps, and thanks for asking a Latin teacher.

Sincerely,

John

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