on spec


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on spec

1. Of some kind of work, done with the hope of selling it to make a profit, but without a prior agreement or contract. "Spec" is short for "speculation." No, we didn't commission the developer to build our house—it was built on spec with the rest of them. Dave wrote that script on spec and ended up selling it to the studio.
2. According to exact specifications. If you need any computers built on spec, they're the team to do it.
3. Describing an attempt to attend an event without obtaining a ticket (or other means of entrance) beforehand. Primarily heard in UK. You can't go to that play on spec—it's too popular, and you'll never get in.
See also: on, spec
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

on spec

 
1. using money risked in the hope of profit; on speculation. He lives by buying and selling houses on spec. I think it might be an idea to build a few yachts on spec just now.
2. as specified; right on specifications. This has been built exactly on spec—just as you asked. It's important to make sure the design is on spec or the customer will not pay.
See also: on, spec
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

on spec

Done on a speculative basis; with no assurance of profit. For example, We didn't design our house; the builder built it on spec. The use of spec as an abbreviation for speculation dates from the late 1700s.
See also: on, spec
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

on spec

in the hope of success but without any specific plan or instructions. informal
The informal abbreviation of speculation to spec was originally American, but it has been used in British English since the early 19th century, and the phrase on spec itself dates from the mid 19th century.
2000 Times As large sculpture is commissioned before being produced, Barbara's routine became the opposite of Ben's, whose work was produced on spec.
See also: on, spec
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

do something on ˈspec

(British English, informal) go somewhere without a ticket, an appointment, etc. in the hope that you will be able to get something you want: That restaurant’s very popular. You’ll never get a table if you just turn up on spec.
Spec is short for speculation (= doing something without knowing all the facts).
See also: on, something, spec
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

on spec

On a speculation basis; with no assurance of profit: houses built on spec; writes TV commercials on spec.
See also: on, spec
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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