What is the difference between “special” and “especial”?

I can decide accurately which to use in a given context, but I can’t make out the actual difference in definition between “special” and “especial”. I have searched two authoritative dictionaries to no avail.


In every use, especial can be replaced by special with no change in meaning. The word special does have some meanings especial does not have, such as “of or relating to a species” and as a euphemism for handicapped. Also, the phrase a special to mean an unusual offer or deal has no corresponding form with especial.

Source : Link , Question Author : Tuesday , Answer Author : David Schwartz

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