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

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Other Words from characteristic

Adjective

characteristically \ ˌker-​ik-​tə-​ˈri-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce characteristically (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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But there's a whole host of other characteristics: cheap and easy to work with, compatible with the chemistry of the rest of the battery components, holds up to repeated charge cycles, and so on. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Will lithium-sulfur batteries be in our future?," 10 Jan. 2020 The car’s three driving modes, Touring, Sport and Track render decidedly different characteristics, even in street driving. Dan Carney, Popular Science, "The Corvette is finally the supercar it deserves to be," 2 Jan. 2020 Standard sequencing can take weeks, but using a rapid sequencing method and software that compared the genome with the patient’s disease characteristics, Kingsmore’s team could get a genetic diagnosis back in as little as a day or two. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "23 and Baby," 24 Dec. 2019 Researchers have shown that algorithms can process genomic data to predict individual characteristics, such as a person’s height or risk of certain diseases. Tom Simonite, Wired, "The AI Doctor Will See You Now," 21 Dec. 2019 One other characteristic that has defined the past decade: When given the choice, political actors have typically pursued the more populist/radical/confrontational option. NBC News, "Impeachment caps a dark and dysfunctional decade in American politics," 18 Dec. 2019 Rye in the grain bill complements the spicy characteristics of the Cashmere hops, but the fruity aromas and flavors also come through bright and clear. Jess Fleming, Twin Cities, "Bot IPA series from Tin Whiskers Brewing is worth exploring," 10 Dec. 2019 People are often searching for better opportunities but must also take into account factors like family characteristics, lifestyle, and community. Thomas Cooke, Quartz, "Americans have stopped relocating, and it could dramatically affect society," 7 Dec. 2019 The email, detectives said, is characteristic of Collins, full of denials and rationalizations. Freep.com, "'Handsome' EMU student was unlikely serial killer suspect. Letters, interviews reveal dark side.," 11 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective There's a lot of untapped talent in Milwaukee' The experience was characteristic of Binko's latest venture: an online video series chronicling the Milwaukee-area music scene called Binko: Unscripted. Cathy Kozlowicz, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Menomonee Falls man's latest video series showcases the unique music scene in Milwaukee," 27 Dec. 2019 Henrich attributes this phenomenon to the insular mind-set that is characteristic of intense kinship. David Noonan, Scientific American, "Western Individualism Arose from Incest Taboo," 7 Nov. 2019 On the other end, the kind of play that gave the Falcons the win in the opening set was very characteristic of the visitor’s strengths on the court over the course of the season. Burbank Leader, "Burroughs girls’ volleyball bounces back to down Crescenta Valley," 8 Oct. 2019 Get our daily newsletter The suddenness was characteristic of Mr Modi’s government, which has a penchant for dramatic moves. The Economist, "India’s government delights businesses by slashing corporate tax," 26 Sep. 2019 The authors discovered several new morphological features in the MRD cranium that are conventionally considered to be characteristic of younger species on the human lineage. Hester Hanegraef, Quartz Africa, "The skull of humanity’s oldest known ancestor is changing our understanding of evolution," 7 Sep. 2019 Yet the continuity of human experience that is characteristic of Paris remains. Bruce Dale, National Geographic, "Adored, neglected, and restored: A 1968 Nat Geo feature explored Notre Dame," 17 Apr. 2019 MacLaine is, as always, great, and McConaughey chews up the scenes in characteristic fashion. Lincoln Michel, GQ, "Bernie Is the Best True Crime Black Comedy on Netflix," 2 Apr. 2018 What’s more, the bones didn’t have the stacks of lines characteristic of adult bones, confirming that the two fossils belonged to juveniles. National Geographic, "These sleek predatory dinosaurs really are teenage T. rex," 1 Jan. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for characteristic

Time Traveler

The first known use of characteristic was in 1646

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Statistics for characteristic

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Characteristic.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/characteristic. Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for characteristic

characteristic

noun
How to pronounce characteristic (audio)

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 characteristically (audio) \ adverb

characteristic

noun

Medical Definition of characteristic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a distinguishing trait, quality, or property

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Comments on characteristic

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