Special Operations Executive a secret British military service during the Second World War, set up in 1940 to carry out clandestine operations and coordinate with resistance movements in Europe and later the Far East. Abbreviation, SOE.
special pleading argument in which the speaker deliberately ignores aspects that are unfavourable to their point of view; the term was originally (in the late 17th century) used for a legal pleading drawn with particular references to the circumstances of a case, as opposed to general pleading.
the special relationship the relationship between Britain and the US, regarded as particularly close in terms of common origin and language. The expression is associated with Winston Churchill, as in the House of Commons 7 November 1945.