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

Over the last 15 years, other species of azhdarchids have been unearthed in Europe and North Africa, allowing researchers to better understand the characteristics and differences within the group. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Massive ‘Ice Dragon’ Ruled the Skies Above Ancient Alberta," 11 Sep. 2019 Representatives from the Netherlands will be at Four Town Fairgrounds to inspect the Friesian horses and goals on their movement, conformation, fitness and breed characteristics. courant.com, "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 11 Sep. 2019 Physical characteristics also affect recruitment at lower levels. The Economist, "The eyes have it," 8 Sep. 2019 Because of these special characteristics, it is believed that new sides will be hidden. Manveena Suri And Swati Gupta, CNN, "India's historic landing on moon's polar surface may have failed," 6 Sep. 2019 Because of these special characteristics, it is believed that new sides will be hidden. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Early signs are that India’s moon mission has failed," 6 Sep. 2019 The video above offers a closer look at some of the best (or most unique) forehands in tennis, and breaks down the characteristics that make this fundamental move so worth watching. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "Consider the Forehand," 4 Sep. 2019 The grapes’ various characteristics seem resilient in the face of viticultural challenges, explains Florian Reyne, general manager of Planète Bordeaux vineyards. Fortune, "Can New Grapes Save the Wine Industry From Climate Change?," 31 Aug. 2019 In other states, Gran noted, stream experts are mimicking some beaver dam characteristics in rivers to help prevent erosion, slowing high flow events to keep the river more clear for trout. John Myers, Twin Cities, "Damming question: Can beaver and trout coexist? ‘We don’t know yet.’," 26 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Her boss had another characteristic sound: Yelling, and a lot of it. Chris Woolston, Quartz at Work, "How to deal with an abusive boss," 29 Aug. 2019 Both refreshing and characteristic of many with ASD, the proclivity for honesty can be problematic for job seekers. Caryn M. Sullivan, Twin Cities, "Caryn M. Sullivan: For would-be employees and amenable employers, opportunity for a happy dance," 23 June 2019 All the characteristic Winogrand elements are to be found: energy, surprise, voraciousness, avidity, dauntlessness, wit, alertness, muscularity, gusto, slyness, insolence, stunned wonder (that especially). Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "Garry Winogrand, that master of black-and-white, was a master of color, too," 20 June 2019 As is characteristic with Cooper and Shayk, neither has commented on the demise of the relationship. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga affair rumors contributed to breakup with Irina Shayk, report says," 11 June 2019 In keeping with her characteristic all-black, moto-goth look, Dalle wore a leather jacket, black T-shirt, skinny jeans, and uber high stomper-platform boots. Vogue, "At 54, Beatrice Dalle Is France’s Biggest Red Carpet Rebel," 20 May 2019 The Clovis people, big game hunters who made characteristic stone tools dated to about 13,000 years ago, were once thought to have been the first to reach the Americas, presumably through the ice-free corridor. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "First people in the Americas came by sea, ancient tools unearthed by Idaho river suggest," 29 Aug. 2019 These hostile comments are often bookended with a smug reference to Chappelle’s own characteristic brazenness, as if to distance the comic from any standard of civil discourse and instead deflect that responsibility onto viewers. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Dave Chappelle Doubles Down," 28 Aug. 2019 All soups where bacon, milk and aromatics ground various sweet things with their characteristic creaminess and warmth. Los Angeles Times, "A summer squash soup with a pedigree," 24 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for characteristic

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for characteristic

The first known use of characteristic was in 1646

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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 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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