special delivery




special delivery (countable and uncountable, plural special deliveries)

  1. (uncountable, sometimes hyphenated when used attributively) A kind of postal service in which, for an extra fee, letters and packages are delivered in a highly expedited manner by a special courier.
    • 1910, O. Henry, "Compliments of the Season", Strictly Business:
      The pick of the output of the French and German toymakers was rushed by special delivery to the mansion; but Rachel refused to be comforted.
    • 1919, Grace S. Richmond, "The Time of His Life" in The Brown Study:
      So, before he slept, he sent his sister a special-delivery letter knowing she would receive it in the morning.
    • 1922, Mary Roberts Rinehart, The Breaking Point, ch. 22:
      Then, as though he could hurry the trains East, he put a special delivery stamp on it.
  2. (countable) A particular posted letter or package which is delivered in this manner; a particular act of conveying such letters or packages to one or more recipients.
    • 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned, ch. 2:
      Late in the afternoon arrived a special delivery, mailed from some small New Jersey town.
    • 1972 Nov. 6, "People," Time:
      The post office arranged special deliveries every half-hour to handle the flood of greetings.
  3. (countable and uncountable, idiomatic, by extension, sometimes humorous) Something—whether desirable or undesirable—which is intentionally given to a specific individual or which an individual receives rapidly and unexpectedly; the personalized, direct quality of the transmission of such an item.
    • 1998, Lisa Scottoline, Rough Justice, ISBN 9780061096105, p. 181:
      Special delivery for Mr. Graham,” said the uniformed sheriff. He grinned as he stepped aside. “Hi, honey,” said the woman standing there.
    • 2008, Jerry B. Jenkins and John Perrodin, Seclusion Point, ISBN 9781595544018, p. 83:
      “He might be God's special delivery for us. The reward we've been waiting for.”
    • 2011, Brad Thor, Brad Thor Collectors' Edition #1, ISBN 9781451657975, online edition:
      “I have a special delivery for you from the president,” Harvath continued. He lowered his weapon, took aim, and shot the finger of Fawcett's right hand.


Last modified on 24 August 2013, at 14:02