Spe*cif"ic (?), a. [F.
spécifique, or NL. cpesificus; 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
3. (Med.) Exerting a peculiar influence
over any part of the body; preventing or curing disease by a peculiar
adaption, 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 tissue. (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 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 1.000. -- 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 Linnæus 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.
Spe*cif"ic, n. 1.
(Med.) A specific remedy. See Specific,
His parents were weak enough to believe that the royal
touch was a specific for this malady.
2. Anything having peculiar adaption to the
purpose to which it is applied. Dr. H. More.