Meaning of especially in English:


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  • 1Used to single out one person or thing over all others.

    ‘he despised them all, especially Sylvester’
    • ‘a new song, written especially for Jonathan’
    • ‘It's a lonely life, especially for a woman on her own surrounded by male musicians.’
    • ‘The photo was taken especially for the blog by our latest work experience recruit last week!’
    • ‘It will make such a difference, especially for elderly people living on the estate.’
    • ‘We wish to celebrate a person who can be seen as a role model especially for younger business people.’
    • ‘Her dress, made especially for the ball, caught at her legs as she ran, slowing her down.’
    • ‘When we walked into the room, he announced that he was going to sing a song especially for Micky and me.’
    • ‘Knowing when to attack is much more difficult, especially for players at club level.’
    • ‘However it can also be a serious illness, especially for people who are frail or already ill.’
    • ‘The issues are less easy today than they once were, especially during the Cold War.’
    • ‘She refuses to let the issue lie, especially as she feels the snub has racist overtones.’
    • ‘On the other hand they can look most attractive, especially when planted up with herbs.’
    • ‘Also you may be better off getting a yearly cover - especially if you do travel quite a lot.’
    • ‘In its short history America has a lot to be proud of, especially in the field of human endeavour.’
    • ‘Yet especially over the past few decades, the strength of this commitment has waned.’
    • ‘He at once became a valued member, a very talented actor, especially in comedy roles.’
    • ‘Something must be done urgently especially as Bonfire Night is almost upon us again.’
    • ‘Some of the old style traffic wardens were ruthless, especially some of the women.’
    • ‘Make sure that the coach company knows this, especially if you have to arrive at a certain time.’
    • ‘This must be dealt with as soon as possible, especially if the tree is in a dangerous condition.’
    • ‘So a big thank you to Bradford and its people and especially to Gareth, who was the cause for us going there.’
    mainly, mostly, chiefly, principally, for the most part, in the main, on the whole, largely, by and large, to a large extent, to a great degree, predominantly, above all, first and foremost, basically, substantially, overall, in general, particularly, in particular, primarily, generally, usually, typically, commonly, as a rule
    expressly, specially, specifically, exclusively, just, particularly, uniquely, precisely, explicitly, purposefully, on purpose
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  • 2To a great extent; very much.

    ‘he didn't especially like dancing’
    • ‘sleep is especially important in growing children’
    • ‘As a woman it's especially important to be open and say what you think about it.’
    • ‘It is especially important that babies and small children do not become dehydrated.’
    • ‘That real and deep sense of solidarity was especially important to us as Muslims.’
    • ‘This is especially important if it is going to be daytime when you arrive at your destination.’
    • ‘Handling data will be especially important as teams prepare for the race at Phoenix.’
    • ‘Fine tuning the car is especially important here, because of the nature of the track.’
    • ‘The second act is especially gripping as the virtual world grows and becomes even more real.’
    • ‘They said life there was boring and disorienting but not especially harsh.’
    • ‘It is especially useful for the information it gives on Strauss as a family man.’
    • ‘Rock is enjoying one of its biggest years ever, with the metal end faring especially well.’
    • ‘Residents there may like to know that this part of South Wales is especially beautiful.’
    • ‘This area is however especially prone to changes in the overall political climate.’
    • ‘Mention any features of which you are especially proud and which you would like the judges to see.’
    • ‘They have now handed out a phone number for residents to report especially loud aircraft.’
    exceptionally, particularly, specially, very, extremely, singularly, peculiarly, distinctly, unusually, extraordinarily, extra, uncommonly, uniquely, remarkably, strikingly, outstandingly, amazingly, incredibly, awfully, terribly, really, unwontedly, notably, markedly, decidedly, surprisingly, conspicuously, signally
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/ɪˈspɛʃəli/ /ɛˈspɛʃəli/


There is some overlap in the uses of especially and specially. In the broadest terms, both words mean ‘particularly’ and the preference for one word over the other is linked with particular conventions of use rather than with any deep difference in meaning. For example, there is little to choose between written especially for Jonathan and written specially for Jonathan and neither is more correct than the other. On the other hand, in sentences such as he despised them all, especially Sylvester, substitution of specially is found in informal uses but should not be used in written English, while in the car was specially made for the occasion substitution of especially is somewhat unusual. Overall, especially is by far the commoner of the two, occurring twenty times as frequently as specially in the Oxford English Corpus