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I wrote:

We specifically define an anchor as a textual element that marks the start or end of a data region, or as a keyword or pattern within a data record that distinguishes it from the rest of the page.

I want to mean that we have a specific definition for anchor and pay attention especially to textual anchors.

What is the meaning and usage of "specifically", especially for definitions? In a dictionary I found a close definition for it as "in detailed and exact way" and the example is "I specifically asked you not to do that".

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  • Anything wrong with e.g. thefreedictionary.com/specifically ? Sep 4 '15 at 17:11
  • @NathanTuggy I can't find examples of its usage for definitions, what means "we specifically define". I added that to the question.
    – Ahmad
    Sep 4 '15 at 17:15
  • @NathanTuggy Please note, when I bring a sentence and then ask "what means X?"; I don't mean that I don't know its meaning, I want to know if I used it correctly and my sense of it is correct or not. In dictionary I found a close definition for it as "in detailed and exact way" and the example is "I specifically asked you not to do that". But that still didn't help me to know if my usage is similar or not.
    – Ahmad
    Sep 4 '15 at 17:22
  • Is there a need to qualify the the verb "define"? What is wrong with "We define an anchor as..."? Sep 4 '15 at 18:02
  • I think the question on imkingdavid's mind as well as mine is, what is it you're trying to say that you can't say without that adverb. You say "...we have a specific definition for anchor...". If you don't use that word, would your definition be less specific somehow? Sep 4 '15 at 18:21
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I see nothing wrong with specifically, but if you want to indicate that your specific definition of "Anchor" is for an intentional reason, I would use the word explicitly instead

fully developed or formulated (an explicit plan) (an explicit notion of our objective)

This works especially well if the reason you defined Anchor the way you did was to remove vagueness or ambiguity.

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From your comment, "the example is 'I specifically asked you not to do that'," I get the impression that the example is being used as an admonishment, i.e., "anchor" was used, or might be used, for something beyond the scope of what was defined. In that case, I would agree that it was used correctly. If my understanding is correct that you're using the adverb to convey a limited scope and you're worried about it not sounding restrictive enough, then another way to give it that tone is to use its synonym, "explicit" (perhaps with some emphasis on the words that are limiting the definition to a specific case), e.g.:

We explicitly define an anchor as a textual element that marks the start or end of a data region, or as a keyword or pattern within a data record that distinguishes it from the rest of the page.

Or perhaps:

We narrowly define an anchor as a textual element that marks the start or end of a data region, or as a keyword or pattern within a data record that distinguishes it from the rest of the page.

Or:

We specifically limit the usage of an anchor to textual elements that mark the start or end of a data region, or to keywords or patterns within a data record that distinguish them from the rest of the page.

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