The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
specific \spe*cif"ic\ (sp[-e]*s[i^]f"[i^]k), a. [F.
sp['e]cifique, or NL. spesificus; L. species a particular
sort or kind + facere to make. Cf. specify.]
1. Of or pertaining to a species; characterizing or
constituting a species; possessing the peculiar property
or properties of a thing which constitute its species, and
distinguish it from other things; as, the specific form of
an animal or a plant; the specific qualities of a drug;
the specific distinction between virtue and vice.
Specific difference is that primary attribute which
distinguishes each species from one another. --I.
2. Specifying; definite, or making definite; limited;
precise; discriminating; as, a specific statement.
3. (Med.) Exerting a peculiar influence over any part of the
body; preventing or curing disease by a peculiar
adaptation, and not on general principles; as, quinine is
a specific medicine in cases of malaria.
In fact, all medicines will be found specific in the
perfection of the science. --Coleridge.
Specific character (Nat. Hist.), a characteristic or
characteristics distinguishing one species from every
other species of the same genus.
Specific disease (Med.)
(a) A disease which produces a determinate definite effect
upon the blood and tissues or upon some special
(b) A disease which is itself uniformly produced by a
definite and peculiar poison or organism.
Specific duty. (Com.) See under Duty.
Specific gravity. (Physics) See under Gravity.
Specific heat (Physics), the quantity of heat required to
raise the temperature of a body one degree, taking as the
unit of measure the quantity required to raise the same
weight of water from zero to one degree; thus, the
specific heat of mercury is 0.033, that of water being
Specific inductive capacity (Physics), the effect of a
dielectric body in producing static electric induction as
compared with that of some other body or bodies referred
to as a standard.
Specific legacy (Law), a bequest of a particular thing, as
of a particular animal or piece of furniture, specified
and distinguished from all others. --Wharton. --Burrill.
Specific name (Nat. Hist.), the name which, appended to the
name of the genus, constitutes the distinctive name of the
species; -- originally applied by Linnaeus to the
essential character of the species, or the essential
difference. The present specific name he at first called
the trivial name.
Specific performance (Law), the peformance of a contract or
agreement as decreed by a court of equity.