'Specialty' or 'Speciality': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on December 12, 2022

Should you spell the word ‘specialty’ or ‘speciality’? We’ll answer that in this article, plus teach you how to use the word in a sentence correctly.

The quick answer is that ‘specialty’ is the only correct way to spell the word in American, Canadian, and even Australian English (which is odd because most Australian English rules follow British standards). The word ‘speciality’ is more common in British English, and it’s typically used as an adjective.

‘Specialty’ vs. ‘Speciality’ – Which is Correct? 

As you've just learned, both spellings of the word are correct. However, using them correctly comes down to what audience you're writing for. American, Canadian, and Australian audiences prefer the former spelling, while British audiences prefer the latter spelling.

Is There a Difference Between ‘Specialty’ and ‘Speciality’?

There's only a slight difference in the usage of the two words. The definitions vary, but essentially, the words mean pretty much the same thing.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Specialty’

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘specialty’ is: “a distinctive mark or quality,” “a special object or class of objects: such as 1) a legal agreement embodied in a sealed instrument, 2) a product of a special kind or of special excellence,” “the state of being special, distinctive, or peculiar,” and “something in which one specializes.”

Some synonyms of the word include:

  • Area
  • Barony
  • Arena
  • Bailiwick
  • Business
  • Element
  • Field
  • Discipline
  • Domain
  • Game
  • Kingdom
  • Walk
  • Realm
  • Sphere
  • Terrain
  • Province
  • Precinct
  • Fiefdom

Definition and Meaning of ‘Speciality’

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘speciality’ is: “a special mark or quality,” “a special object or class of objects,” and “a special aptitude or skill.”

Take a look at a few synonyms of the word:

  • Forte
  • Metier
  • Thing
  • Long suit
  • Specialty
  • Strong suit

How to Use ‘Specialty’ in a Sentence Correctly

Now that we know a little more about the word let’s see some examples of how to use it correctly in a sentence.

  • This is a specialty herbal tea from India. It’s organic lemon ginger tea.
  • Manga is a like a specialty Japanese comic book. It’s not like comic books in America.
  • I like a couple of specialty craft beer varieties. You should try some.
  • I don’t know what’s worse – specialty coffee or specialty tea.
  • We have quite a few specialty thrift shops that are pretty upscale.

How to Use ‘Speciality’ in a Sentence Correctly

Now, let’s take a look at how to use ‘speciality’ in a sentence correctly.

  • Speciality bean importers have contributed greatly to this bean’s notoriety.
  • In her defense, she only likes speciality chocolate, and everyone kind of knows that.
  • She’s a speciality harp player. She’s been practicing her whole life.
  • This speciality coffee was imported from Brazil, and I love it.
  • Edna makes a speciality sauce that she puts on top of her hamburgers and hot dogs.
  • My fiancée made a speciality vegan dressing that she sells to restaurants.

Concluding Thoughts on ‘Specialty’ and ‘Speciality’ 

To recap, we’ve learned that there’s not really much difference between the words in question, as you can tell by their definitions and their usage in sentences. The only difference is which country each word is used in. For American, Canadian, and Australian audiences, use ‘specialty’ and for British audiences, use ‘speciality.’

If you ever have trouble, you can always come back here to refresh your memory. You can also browse our content library, which has tons of articles that help explain confusing words and phrases you might come across as you’re learning the language. Don’t be afraid to come back whenever you need to.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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