Specialist | Definition of Specialist by Merriam-Webster


spe·​cial·​ist | \ ˈspe-sh(ə-)list How to pronounce specialist (audio) \

Definition of specialist

1 : one who specializes in a particular occupation, practice, or field of study a specialist in disorders of the immune system a specialist in international law "What does Dr. James Mortimer, the man of science, ask of Sherlock Holmes, the specialist in crime?"— Arthur Conan Doyle
2 : an enlisted rank in the U.S. Army corresponding to the grade of corporal also : any of several former enlisted ranks corresponding to the grades of sergeant through sergeant major
3 : an organism (such as a bird) specialized especially in food or habitat

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Other Words from specialist

specialist or specialistic \ ˌspe-​shə-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce specialistic (audio) \ adjective

Examples of specialist in a Sentence

She consulted a marketing specialist when she decided to go into business. He saw a specialist for his foot problem.
Recent Examples on the Web Michael Aviah, the public health education specialist at the Hendricks County Health Department, said that anytime state or CDC recommendations change, the county health department contacts all school nurses and coordinators to update them. Mj Slaby, The Indianapolis Star, "What families need to know about keeping students home from school due to COVID-19," 24 Sep. 2020 For every success story like these, there also are stories of disappointment and frustration, said Sara Finegan, special education specialist at Hage Elementary School in San Diego's Mira Mesa neighborhood. Matt Villano, CNN, "Students with special needs face virtual learning challenges," 24 Sep. 2020 Ehrlich, Coulter and Donald Grimes, senior research area specialist at RSQE, presented Oakland County's 35th annual economic forecast, which was postponed from May because of the pandemic and given via Zoom. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Report: Oakland County loses 25% of small businesses, 156,000 jobs to pandemic," 21 Sep. 2020 Euan Roger, principal records specialist at The National Archives in the United Kingdom, has written about social distancing measures during 16th-century plague outbreaks. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "Untethered by the pandemic, urban workers consider a pastoral life," 16 Sep. 2020 Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at the NHC, said on Twitter the only year with a higher number is September 1971. Fox News, "Tropical Storms Teddy, Vicky form as hurricane center tracks 8 systems; 'storms everywhere'," 14 Sep. 2020 The epidemic could get worse and more complicated this fall, said Dr. David Kimberlin, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Mike Stobbe, Star Tribune, "Study: Kids infected at day care spread coronavirus at home," 11 Sep. 2020 Edgar had a searching conversation with a mental health specialist on the role of police. Michael Laris, Washington Post, "Behind a father-and-son protest, a history of laughter and struggle," 3 Sep. 2020 Just a few degrees of extra heat during an extreme event, or over the longer term, can push people past health thresholds into dangerous territory, says Catherine Harrison, a public health specialist on Minneapolis’s Emergency Preparedness team. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "Racist housing policies have created some oppressively hot neighborhoods," 2 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'specialist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of specialist

1836, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for specialist

Time Traveler

The first known use of specialist was in 1836

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Last Updated

27 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Specialist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/specialist. Accessed 28 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for specialist


How to pronounce specialist (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of specialist

: a person who has special knowledge and skill relating to a particular job, area of study, etc.
: a doctor who deals with health problems that relate to a specific area of medicine
: a rank in the U.S. Army that is above the rank of private and below the rank of corporal


spe·​cial·​ist | \ ˈspe-shə-list How to pronounce specialist (audio) \

Kids Definition of specialist

1 : a person who studies or works at a special occupation or branch of learning a specialist in animal behavior an eye specialist
2 : an enlisted person in the army with a rank similar to that of corporal


spe·​cial·​ist | \ ˈspesh-(ə-)ləst How to pronounce specialist (audio) \

Medical Definition of specialist

: a medical practitioner whose practice is limited to a particular class of patients (as children) or of diseases (as skin diseases) or of technique (as surgery) especially : a physician who is qualified by advanced training and certification by a specialty examining board to so limit his or her practice

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