1630s, "having a special quality," from French spécifique and directly from Late Latin specificus "constituting a kind or sort" (in Medieval Latin "specific, particular"), from Latin species "kind, sort" (see species). Earlier form was specifical (early 15c.). Meaning "definite, precise" first recorded 1740. Related: Specifically; specificness.
"a specific quality or detail," 1690s, from specific (adj.).
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