characteristic

noun
char·​ac·​ter·​is·​tic | \ ˌker-ik-tə-ˈri-stik How to pronounce characteristic (audio) , ˌka-rik- \

Definition of characteristic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a distinguishing trait, quality, or property the characteristics of this breed of dog
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

characteristic

adjective

Definition of characteristic (Entry 2 of 2)

: revealing, distinguishing, or typical of an individual character a poetic style characteristic of the epic

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from characteristic

Adjective

characteristically \ ˌker-​ik-​tə-​ˈri-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce characteristic (audio) , ˌka-​rik-​ \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for characteristic

Adjective

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

Examples of characteristic in a Sentence

Noun the ability to fashion tools and other characteristics that distinguish human beings from other animals Adjective He responded to their comments with characteristic good humor. the characteristic taste of licorice
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That was a statement characteristic of the new millennium. Perri Klass, Harper's Magazine, 25 May 2021 High volatility remains a key characteristic of crypto trading, so anything can happen. Chris Smith, BGR, 16 May 2021 The fear of fat is a common motivating characteristic for weight-loss goals. Virgie Tovar, Forbes, 13 May 2021 Coinbase's stock movements are largely tied to the volatility of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, a dynamic that's likely to be a characteristic of the stock, experts say. Anne Sraders, Fortune, 13 May 2021 That is the other distinguishing characteristic of a ceremonial funeral, according to Parliament documents. Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY, 9 Apr. 2021 Leslie, who identifies as bisexual, says that was a key characteristic that had to be kept. Washington Post, 17 Jan. 2021 The other necessary characteristic, Palmer continued, is maturity. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, 28 Nov. 2020 Fatness is not the defining characteristic of most overweight people. Jen Chaney, Vulture, 7 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Various life forms could rely on characteristic combinations of methods. Jennifer Frazer, Scientific American, 28 May 2021 Amaro’s characteristic bitterness can be attributed in many cases to gentian, an alpine plant whose root has an beloved, self-amplifying bitterness found in Campari and its sister bitter, Aperol. Beth Segal, cleveland, 28 May 2021 John accepted the award with characteristic humor and grace, and spoke specifically about the importance of radio. Charu Sinha, Vulture, 27 May 2021 Singer-songwriter Ant Clemons, who appears here in his characteristic red cap, earned a nomination for Best R&B Album at this year’s Grammy Awards for his polished debut, Happy 2 Be Here. Ryan Mcginley, Vogue, 26 May 2021 Set in what looked to be a glamorous, although otherwise empty hotel room, BTS moved with characteristic percussion through the slick summer hit, accompanying the earworm chorus with expert choreography. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 26 May 2021 This is Brooks’s story in a nutshell, at least on the surface, related with characteristic confidence and candor. Patrick Blanchfield, The New Republic, 25 May 2021 The drive is thoroughly undeveloped and sure to scratch the itch of those seeking Yellowstone's characteristic reflection of a wild America. Ali Wunderman, Star Tribune, 21 May 2021 In up to 80% of cases, a characteristic bulls-eye rash can appears up to 30 days after a tick bite, usually within about a week, the CDC says. Lauren Krouse, Health.com, 18 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'characteristic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of characteristic

Noun

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1647, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for characteristic

Noun

see character entry 1

Adjective

see character entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about characteristic

Time Traveler for characteristic

Time Traveler

The first known use of characteristic was in 1646

See more words from the same year

Statistics for characteristic

Last Updated

2 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Characteristic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/characteristic. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for characteristic

characteristic

noun

English Language Learners Definition of characteristic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

characteristic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of characteristic (Entry 2 of 2)

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

characteristic

noun
char·​ac·​ter·​is·​tic | \ ˌker-ək-tə-ˈri-stik How to pronounce characteristic (audio) \

Kids Definition of characteristic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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.

characteristic

adjective

Kids Definition of characteristic (Entry 2 of 2)

: serving to distinguish an individual or a group : typical of a person, thing, or group He replied with characteristic good humor.

Other Words from characteristic

characteristically \ ˌker-​ək-​tə-​ˈris-​ti-​kə-​lē \ adverb She was characteristically cheerful.

characteristic

adjective
char·​ac·​ter·​is·​tic | \ ˌkar-ik-tə-ˈris-tik How to pronounce characteristic (audio) \

Medical Definition of characteristic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: serving to reveal and distinguish the individual character

Other Words from characteristic

characteristically \ -​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce characteristic (audio) \ adverb

characteristic

noun

Medical Definition of characteristic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a distinguishing trait, quality, or property

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!