hall·mark | \ˈhȯl-ˌmärk \

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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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


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

Silence and solitude were the hallmarks of each day’s sojourn. Doug Hansen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Hiking Spain's wild coast," 12 July 2018 The Doers award highlights a company where efficiency and quality are hallmarks. Greg Larose, NOLA.com, "Top Workplaces: Special awards single out standouts employers," 24 May 2018 More Casual Japanese: Sushi Izakaya Gaku Exceptionally fresh sashimi and sushi are Gaku’s hallmarks: The chefs source product from Chinatown fish markets and Honolulu’s own tuna auction, a local version of the world-famous Tsukiji auctions in Tokyo. Bloomberg.com, "Bloomberg," 2 May 2018 These sounds are the hallmarks of legendary jazz label Blue Note Records, which was the first recording showcase of talents like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and many more who would go on to be jazz legends. Maiysha Kai, The Root, "Tribeca Film Festival 2018: A New Film on Blue Note Records Takes Us Beyond the Notes," 27 Apr. 2018 In Dubai, home to 18 of the tallest towers in the world, panoramic elevators, ergonomic breaking systems and noise-cancelling technology are hallmarks of a new frontier in vertical technology. Adrienne Bernhard, Smithsonian, "Elevators Are Going Green," 27 Apr. 2018 During Jason Kidd's tenure as head coach, aggressiveness and trapping were hallmarks of the defense. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "One year later, Bucks back in familiar position heading into Game 4," 21 Apr. 2018 Machado is doing all the things that are hallmarks of his good seasons — crushing mistakes, using good barrel control to delay his swing on breaking balls and yank them down the left-field line, etc. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Five Orioles stats that stand out: Fun with small sample sizes through season's first two weeks," 12 Apr. 2018 Other hallmarks of the rooms include king size beds (relatively rare on river ships) and, in most rooms, walk-in closets. Gene Sloan, USA TODAY, "New Crystal Cruises river ship, Crystal Ravel, christened on Danube," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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


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


see hallmark entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near hallmark





hall monitor



Statistics for hallmark

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hallmark

The first known use of hallmark was in 1721

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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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Comments on hallmark

What made you want to look up hallmark? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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