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  19.2 Pathnames   19.2.2 Interpreting Pathname Component Values Special Pathname Component Values :UNSPECIFIC as a Component Value Relation between component values NIL and :UNSPECIFIC

If a pathname is converted to a namestring, the symbols nil and :unspecific cause the field to be treated as if it were empty. That is, both nil and :unspecific cause the component not to appear in the namestring.

However, when merging a pathname with a set of defaults, only a nil value for a component will be replaced with the default for that component, while a value of :unspecific will be left alone as if the field were "filled"; see the function merge-pathnames and Section 19.2.3 Merging Pathnames.

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