hall·​mark | \ ˈhȯl-ˌmärk How to pronounce hallmark (audio) \

Definition of hallmark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an official mark stamped on gold and silver articles in England to attest their purity
b : a mark or device placed or stamped on an article of trade to indicate origin, purity, or genuineness a hallmark from the Ming dynasty
2 : a distinguishing characteristic, trait, or feature the dramatic flourishes which are the hallmark of the trial lawyer— Marion K. Sanders


hallmarked; hallmarking; hallmarks

Definition of hallmark (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to stamp with a mark that indicates origin, purity, or genuineness : to stamp with a hallmark (see hallmark entry 1)

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Synonyms for hallmark

Synonyms: Noun

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The Golden History of Hallmark


Centuries ago, King Edward I of England decreed that gold and silver had to be tested and approved by master craftsmen before being sold. Later, London artisans were required to bring finished metal goods to Goldsmith's Hall to be checked, and if those items met the quality standards of the craft-masters there, they would be marked with a special stamp of approval. (The process is much the same today.) At first, people used hallmark to name that mark of excellence from Goldsmith's Hall, but over the years the word came to refer to any mark guaranteeing purity or genuineness, and eventually to name any sign of outstanding talent, creativity, or excellence.

Examples of hallmark in a Sentence

Noun He had all the hallmarks of a great baseball player. Humor is one of the hallmarks of her style. The murder bore all the hallmarks of a serial killer's work.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Long, slow rituals are the hallmark of this film, none of them longer, slower, more meticulous or riveting, in their grisly way, than the work of a volunteer team that recovers and autopsies corpses strewn all across the ravaged land. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Atlantis’ Review: Sunken Souls," 21 Jan. 2021 Coming together in times of crisis has always been the hallmark of American strength. Washington Post, "Readers write to Kamala Harris ahead of the inauguration," 14 Jan. 2021 And the Electoral College is the hallmark of our smooth transition. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey declines to blame President Trump for violence at U.S. Capitol," 11 Jan. 2021 Longevity was the hallmark of Niekro’s career, which was spent largely in obscurity pitching for Braves teams that rarely managed a winning season. Paul Newberry, chicagotribune.com, "Phil Niekro, the Baseball Hall of Famer who had a baffling knuckleball, dies at 81," 27 Dec. 2020 Miller surrounded it with scraps from many years’ worth of volunteer T-shirts, in her hallmark seemingly improvisational style. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "Hartford quilter Ed Johnetta Miller creates First Night Hartford quilt to celebrate as event goes remote," 23 Dec. 2020 Gervin said the Spartans continue to play plenty of press coverage, their hallmark the past 13 seasons under Dantonio. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "How Michigan State football's defense under Mel Tucker blends old, new concepts," 3 Nov. 2020 Its hallmark is a public garden dotted with works by renowned 20th-century sculptors. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Donald Kendall, Pepsi’s Chief During the Cola Wars, Dies at 99," 24 Sep. 2020 Craftsman design is a hallmark of this neighborhood and one example is at 5303 Bonita Ave. Dallas News, "Smart home searches begin with the neighborhood," 31 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This process is what leads to hallmark rheumatoid arthritis symptoms like painful, swollen joints, joint stiffness, fatigue, fever, and more. Beth Krietsch, SELF, "5 Questions People With Rheumatoid Arthritis Should Ask Their Doctors," 26 Aug. 2020 In normal circumstances, the teenage experience is hallmarked by big emotions. Jennifer Folsom, NBC News, "Coronavirus is canceling senior year across America: 5 ways to help your child cope," 2 Apr. 2020 Holidays, inasmuch as they are illustrated by their ornaments and decorations, are also hallmarked by their customary foods, which spangle around festive table centerpieces as the true spectacle of the occasions. Myles Poydras, The Atlantic, "The History Behind One of America’s Most Beloved Desserts," 5 Jan. 2020 Byrne recalled her brother’s sense of humor, hallmarked an uncanny ability to impersonate anyone. Michael Brice-saddler, Washington Post, "Among the Texas shooting victims: A high-school student, a beloved uncle and a father of two," 1 Sep. 2019 Opponents said the bill would have eroded Hong Kong’s hallmark judicial independence and exposed its residents to politicized cases. Washington Post, "Hong Kong protests move forward despite police objections," 11 Aug. 2019 Despite a season hallmarked by miscommunication between the player’s camp and the Spurs, Leonard and Popovich maintained a solid — albeit often long-distance — relationship. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Where will Kawhi play next season, and other burning Spurs questions?," 28 Apr. 2018 The inside linebacker blitzes that have long hallmarked Pittsburgh’s scheme also remain. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "The Pittsburgh Steelers Might Have the Best Defense in the AFC," 20 Sep. 2017 The driving idea behind the projects has been to embed the cooperative multiplayer experience within the company’s hallmark open-world games. Gieson Cacho, The Mercury News, "Review: ‘Ghost Recon: Wildlands’ — flawed but deep open-world shooter," 7 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hallmark.' 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 hallmark


1721, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1773, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hallmark

Noun and Verb

Goldsmiths' Hall, London, England, where gold and silver articles were assayed and stamped

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Time Traveler for hallmark

Time Traveler

The first known use of hallmark was in 1721

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Statistics for hallmark

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hallmark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hallmark. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for hallmark



English Language Learners Definition of hallmark

: a quality, ability, etc., that is typical of a particular person or thing
: an official mark that is put on gold and silver objects in Britain to indicate their purity

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