Dictionary

1characteristic

noun char·ac·ter·is·tic \ˌker-ik-tə-ˈris-tik, ˌka-rik-\

: a special quality or trait that makes a person, thing, or group different from others

Full Definition of CHARACTERISTIC

1
:  a distinguishing trait, quality, or property
2
:  the integral part of a common logarithm
3
:  the smallest positive integer n which for an operation in a ring or field yields 0 when any element is used n times with the operation
ADVERTISEMENT

Examples of CHARACTERISTIC

  1. <the ability to fashion tools and other characteristics that distinguish human beings from other animals>

First Known Use of CHARACTERISTIC

1664

2characteristic

adjective

: typical of a person, thing, or group : showing the special qualities or traits of a person, thing, or group

Full Definition of CHARACTERISTIC

:  revealing, distinguishing, or typical of an individual character
char·ac·ter·is·ti·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of CHARACTERISTIC

  1. He responded to their comments with characteristic good humor.
  2. <the characteristic taste of licorice>

First Known Use of CHARACTERISTIC

1665

Synonym Discussion of CHARACTERISTIC

characteristic, individual, peculiar, distinctive mean indicating a special quality or identity. characteristic applies to something that distinguishes or identifies a person or thing or class <responded with her characteristic wit>. individual stresses qualities that distinguish one from all other members of the same kind or class <a highly individual writing style>. peculiar applies to qualities possessed only by a particular individual or class or kind and stresses rarity or uniqueness <an eccentricity that is peculiar to the British>. distinctive indicates qualities distinguishing and uncommon and often superior or praiseworthy <a distinctive aura of grace and elegance>.
CHARACTERISTICALLY Defined for Kids

1characteristic

noun char·ac·ter·is·tic \ˌker-ək-tə-ˈri-stik\

Definition of CHARACTERISTIC for Kids

:  a special quality or appearance that makes an individual or a group different from others <physical characteristics> <Gentleness is a characteristic of this dog breed.>

2characteristic

adjective

Definition of CHARACTERISTIC for Kids

:  serving to distinguish an individual or a group :  typical of a person, thing, or group <He replied with characteristic good humor.>
char·ac·ter·is·ti·cal·ly \ˌker-ək-tə-ˈris-ti-kə-lē\ adverb <She was characteristically cheerful.>

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: characteristic curvePrevious Word in the Dictionary: characterisationAll Words Near: characteristic
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears