Dictionary

1peculiar

adjective pe·cu·liar \pi-ˈkyül-yər\

: not usual or normal

: not well : somewhat ill

Full Definition of PECULIAR

1
:  characteristic of only one person, group, or thing :  distinctive
2
:  different from the usual or normal:
a :  special, particular
b :  odd, curious
c :  eccentric, queer
pe·cu·liar·ly adverb

Examples of PECULIAR

  1. It seems peculiar that he would leave town and not tell anybody.
  2. The dog's peculiar behavior worried them.
  3. She got a peculiar feeling when the phone rang.
  4. She had a peculiar expression on her face.
  5. As military coups go, this was a most peculiar one, bloodless, and in Bangkok at least quite popular. —Ian Buruma, New York Review, 1 Mar. 2007

Origin of PECULIAR

Middle English peculier, from Latin peculiaris of private property, special, from peculium private property, from pecu cattle; akin to Latin pecus cattle — more at fee
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of PECULIAR

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>.

strange, singular, unique, peculiar, eccentric, erratic, odd, quaint, outlandish mean departing from what is ordinary, usual, or to be expected. strange stresses unfamiliarity and may apply to the foreign, the unnatural, the unaccountable <a journey filled with strange sights>. singular suggests individuality or puzzling strangeness <a singular feeling of impending disaster>. unique implies singularity and the fact of being without a known parallel <a career unique in the annals of science>. peculiar implies a marked distinctiveness <the peculiar status of America's first lady>. eccentric suggests a wide divergence from the usual or normal especially in behavior <the eccentric eating habits of preschoolers>. erratic stresses a capricious and unpredictable wandering or deviating <a friend's suddenly erratic behavior>. odd applies to a departure from the regular or expected <an odd sense of humor>. quaint suggests an old-fashioned but pleasant oddness <a quaint fishing village>. outlandish applies to what is uncouth, bizarre, or barbaric <outlandish fashions of the time>.

2peculiar

noun pe·cu·liar \pi-ˈkyül-yər\

Definition of PECULIAR

:  something exempt from ordinary jurisdiction; especially :  a church or parish exempt from the jurisdiction of the ordinary in whose territory it lies

Origin of PECULIAR

(see 1peculiar)
First Known Use: 1562
PECULIAR Defined for Kids

peculiar

adjective pe·cu·liar \pi-ˈkyül-yər\

Definition of PECULIAR for Kids

1
:  of or limited to only one person, thing, or place <It's a custom peculiar to England.>
2
:  different from the usual :  odd
pe·cu·liar·ly adverb

Word History of PECULIAR

The word peculiar first meant a person's own. You may have some quality that is just your own. No one else has it. That surely makes it unusual. This is how peculiar came to mean unusual or odd.

Browse

6 ENTRIES FOUND:
Next Word in the Dictionary: peculiar institutionPrevious Word in the Dictionary: peculateAll Words Near: peculiar
July 05, 2015
bunkum Hear it
insincere or foolish talk
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
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