- /I'speSFli/ also specially spoken adverb
1 (sentence adverb) used to emphasize that something is more important or happens more with one particular thing than with others: Crime is growing at a rapid rate, especially in urban areas.2 (+ adj/adv) to a particularly high degree or much more than usual: I was feeling especially tired that evening. | “Do you feel like going out for a drink?” “Not especially, no.”3 for a particular person, purpose etc(+ for): I bought these chocolates especially for you. USAGE NOTE: ESPECIALLY WORD CHOICE: especially, specially, special Especially is most often used to emphasize something, or to say that something is more worth mentioning or more important than the other things you are talking about: It can be especially difficult for drivers to see cyclists at night. | The town is especially crowded in the summer (=much more than in winter). I hate interruptions, especially when I'm trying to work (=I do not mind as much at other times). Specially is usually used when you do something that is different from what you usually do for a particular purpose. It is often used with the passive form of a verb: a specially made/designed/adapted etc car | I bought it specially for you. Special is the adjective for both specially and especially. SPELLING In spoken English especially is often shortened to specially, but it is usually written in full. Specially may be written (and heard) as especially in slightly formal English. Special is hardly ever written especial, which is very formal. GRAMMAR Specially and especially are not common at the start of a sentence or clause. You would usually say: I especially like New York (NOT especially I like New York).
Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.