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)

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun These candidates also evince another hallmark of Trumpery: purveying dishonesty and disinformation. Norman Eisen And Colby Galliher, CNN, 10 May 2022 Social responsibility is a hallmark of Applied Materials, seen through its intentionally diverse leadership and teams. Blake Morgan, Forbes, 1 May 2022 But that’s a hallmark of a Berry draft: selecting young players and developing them for the future. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, 27 Apr. 2022 The welcome gift bag is a hallmark of the company’s hiring process, Kelly Minella, Calendly’s head of recruiting, tells Fortune. Fortune, 23 Feb. 2022 One hallmark of a championship team, beyond talent, is roster consistency. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, 10 Feb. 2022 Telling truth to power was the hallmark of his style, especially evident in his relationship with Richard Nixon—a mix of admiration and profound frustration. David A. Andelman, WSJ, 3 Dec. 2021 Victim-offender dialogues, as they are known, are a hallmark of restorative justice, an approach that emphasizes repairing harm through dialogue and accountability. Los Angeles Times, 11 Oct. 2021 Career mobility is a hallmark of this era and employers do not automatically see it as a negative. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., USA TODAY, 26 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Spurs’ practice gym was quiet Monday, save for the dull drone of conversation and the occasional click of a camera shutter that hallmark an NBA media day. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, 28 Sep. 2021 This process is what leads to hallmark rheumatoid arthritis symptoms like painful, swollen joints, joint stiffness, fatigue, fever, and more. Beth Krietsch, SELF, 26 Aug. 2020 In normal circumstances, the teenage experience is hallmarked by big emotions. Jennifer Folsom, NBC News, 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, 5 Jan. 2020 Byrne recalled her brother’s sense of humor, hallmarked an uncanny ability to impersonate anyone. Michael Brice-saddler, Washington Post, 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, 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, 28 Apr. 2018 The inside linebacker blitzes that have long hallmarked Pittsburgh’s scheme also remain. Andy Benoit, SI.com, 20 Sep. 2017 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near hallmark



hall monitor

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Statistics for hallmark

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hallmark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hallmark. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on hallmark

Nglish: Translation of hallmark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hallmark for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hallmark


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