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

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
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The defining characteristic of Maxo Kream as a rapper is how this product of Live Love A$AP and Z-Ro can cook up with a primitive brawler like Benny. Jayson Buford, Rolling Stone, 27 July 2022 Up until the last couple of years, a distinctive characteristic was that the growth tip was usually damaged by the cold. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, 26 Nov. 2021 The defining characteristic of our moment is that parties are weak while partisanship is strong. Joel Mathis, The Week, 29 Sep. 2021 The singular characteristic of these bays was Great Whin Sill, a band of igneous dolerite — a dusky, crystalline rock — that erupted from the sea in stratified cliffs and headlands. Henry Wismayer, Washington Post, 8 Sep. 2021 While the show’s jumbo-sized fourth outing is the scariest one yet, horror is not its only defining genre characteristic. Josh Weiss, Forbes, 17 June 2022 But her general lack of decisiveness—dithering on everything from climate protection to the digitization of Germany’s economy—was also a defining characteristic. David Meyer, Fortune, 8 June 2022 Indeed, docile and tractable torque is this motor’s defining characteristic. Tim Pitt, Robb Report, 31 May 2022 This characteristic makes commodities a hedge against inflation. Charles Rotblut, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective To avoid the halo (or horns) effects, compare people on several things—experience, skillset, personality, etc.—instead of a unique positive (or negative) characteristic. Avani Desai, Forbes, 13 June 2022 The complexity, visual as well as philosophical, is characteristic of this eclectic survey of work by 20 artists rooted in the Caribbean archipelago. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 28 June 2022 This mentality, which is characteristic of startups, is harder to find within traditional companies or larger corporations with historically complex organizational structures and relatively risk-avoidant tendencies. Carl Hung, Forbes, 1 June 2022 Bold patterns, jewel tones, and exotic accents are characteristic of Alex Papachristidis’s work. The Editors Of Elle Decor, ELLE Decor, 1 June 2022 Monkeypox is a rare virus that causes symptoms including high temperature, aches, chills and a characteristic — and often painful — rash. Katherine Hignett, Forbes, 27 May 2022 The Eameses also bristled against the marketing hype characteristic of the design industry, which is still very much prevalent today. Anne Quito, Quartz, 16 May 2022 Evans establishes with characteristic precision the background of each one and then traces, in necessarily intricate detail, the processes by which it was transformed and deformed. Geoffrey G. O’brien, The New York Review of Books, 5 Jan. 2021 That gait characteristic, the running equivalent of driving a car with one foot on the gas and the other on the brake, is increasingly being associated with excessive forces during running and injury. Ian Mcmahan, Outside Online, 19 Apr. 2019 See More

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.

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near characteristic

characterisation

characteristic

characteristic curve

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Statistics for characteristic

Last Updated

1 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Characteristic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/characteristic. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for characteristic

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

More from Merriam-Webster on characteristic

Nglish: Translation of characteristic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of characteristic for Arabic Speakers

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