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 Yet the dominant narrative in Lithuania has long been one of resistance to both the Soviets and the Nazis, a hallmark of national identity that state officials have worked to reinforce. NBC News, "How a Chicago teacher sparked a 'memory war,' forcing Lithuania to confront its Nazi past," 4 Apr. 2021 In four samples, the researchers also found evidence for antibodies against PF4, a hallmark of HIT. Kai Kupferschmidt, Science | AAAS, "A rare clotting disorder may cloud the world's hopes for AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine," 27 Mar. 2021 The North Korean state-media missive, a hallmark of the regime’s foreign affairs, came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin were in Japan, with plans to next travel together to South Korea. Timothy W. Martin, WSJ, "Kim Jong Un’s Sister Warns U.S. Not to Cause a Stink With North Korea," 16 Mar. 2021 The cheese is spread all the way to the edges to get that crispy, caramelized crust -- a hallmark of Detroit-style pizza. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Pizza Hut launches Detroit-style pizza: Here's my official taste test," 26 Jan. 2021 Mono-metal bullets like the Barnes Tipped Triple Shock thrive on velocity, and that’s a hallmark of Buffalo Bore ammunition. Richard Mann, Field & Stream, "The 5 Best .30/06 Big-Game Loads," 21 Jan. 2021 Abnormal clotting early in the disease — a hallmark of Covid-19 — could also have damaged the lungs, the heart, and the nervous system. Elizabeth Cooney, STAT, "Explanations for ‘long Covid’ remain elusive. For now, believing patients and treating symptoms is the best doctors can do," 29 Dec. 2020 In their first game without fans because of the pandemic, the Warriors raced in transition, attacked closeouts and played with the type of unbridled enthusiasm that has long been Curry’s hallmark. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors find reasons to celebrate in preseason-opening win over Nuggets," 12 Dec. 2020 Physical play, a hallmark of Schottenheimer’s winning programs with the Chiefs and Browns, was evident in both victories. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Belichick has exposed Telesco-Spanos flaws, not just Lynn’s," 7 Dec. 2020 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

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hallmark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hallmark. Accessed 21 Apr. 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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