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 One characteristic that sets the N protein apart from most others is that it is phosphorylated and the degree of phosphorylation can dramatically affect its function. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 One characteristic of Russiagate bombshells is that the mainstream press simply doesn’t cover them. The Editors, National Review, 15 Feb. 2022 One characteristic of this class, Hinson said, was perseverance even as Covid-19 presented a multitude of challenges. The Enquirer, 13 Nov. 2021 According to the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, one key characteristic of a hs-cTn assay is the ability to detect troponin in ≥50% of healthy individuals7. Christos Varounis, Scientific American, 3 Nov. 2021 High risk was defined as having at least one characteristic associated with severe disease or death, such as old age, obesity or diabetes. Jared S. Hopkins, WSJ, 11 Oct. 2021 The one psychological characteristic that predicted all three outcomes was fear of pain, which makes sense. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, 7 Oct. 2020 My Agent is a confidently Gallic je ne sais quoi, the most singular characteristic of Ten Percent is a strikingly British sense of inferiority and squandered potential. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 30 Apr. 2022 Many of the works have rarity in common, but Remnant Trust Chairman Chris Talley said the characteristic is a hook and not the driving factor. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, 13 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Like other variants of concern, Delta harbors changes in the characteristic spike protein that gives the coronavirus its name. Elizabeth Cooney, STAT, 12 July 2021 This sort of tonal ping-ponging is characteristic of many Twitch streams of the ongoing trial, which began with Depp suing Heard for defamation over a 2018 op-ed that ran in The Washington Post. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 The ambiguity is characteristic of a tradition that could be described as the Black Atlantic Submarine, which reconceives the ocean as a sacred realm somewhere between cradle and grave. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 4 May 2022 The easy strain of music in that brief litany is characteristic of Ms. Baume’s writing, as is the image of messy interconnectedness. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2022 The material is made of modal, a fiber which typically feels super soft and lightweight with a characteristic drape-y look. Grace Wu, Good Housekeeping, 19 Apr. 2022 However, there is one characteristic that many breasts share: Being asymmetrical, meaning one boob looks different than the other. Ashley Abramson, SELF, 11 Apr. 2022 Like their much bolder cousins wasabi and horseradish, radishes contain glucosinolates, the mustard oil component in some foods that creates that characteristic, but benign, sting. Hinnerk Von Bargen, San Antonio Express-News, 12 Apr. 2022 That’s characteristic of this production, whose message and delivery are both curiously muted. New York Times, 16 Feb. 2022 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

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Characteristic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/characteristic. Accessed 28 May. 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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