"a bit special"

Scholiast

Senior Member
Greetings all round

"He is a bit special" is a phrase I have heard several times, to describe someone with (not further defined) intellectual or mental impairment - not through Alzheimer's or Down's syndrome or any other known medical condition -, other than what may crudely (but not uncharitably) be described as "congenitally stupid".

I must emphasise that I am asking a linguistic question, and have no prejudices here.

None of the dictionaries available to me are helpful here, and I am wondering whence this obviously euphemistic use of the word "special" came in to the language.

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  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    It reminds me of "special needs" people and I certainly understand it, especially when it's spoken and there's some inflection on the word "special."

    You'll want to check the Urban Dictionary for special – it covers this usage.
     
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