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hall·​mark ˈhȯl-ˌmärk How to pronounce hallmark (audio)
: an official mark stamped on gold and silver articles in England to attest their purity
: a mark or device placed or stamped on an article of trade to indicate origin, purity, or genuineness
a hallmark from the Ming dynasty
: a distinguishing characteristic, trait, or feature
the dramatic flourishes which are the hallmark of the trial lawyerMarion K. Sanders


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hallmarked; hallmarking; hallmarks

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

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
Acting like doing their chores is an act of torture is common, and straight-up ignoring their parents is an 8-year-old hallmark. Kristi Pahr, Parents, 14 Sep. 2023 Read full article In less time than a movie double-feature, enough water fell to wash out roads and train tracks, deluge homes and businesses in several feet of water, and force evacuations— the consequences of flash flooding that experts say is a hallmark of climate change. Sabrina Shankman, BostonGlobe.com, 13 Sep. 2023 Collaboration is still a hallmark of Pininfarina, and much of the Battista’s rarefied foundation is shared by the Nevera. Viju Mathew, Robb Report, 9 Sep. 2023 And in a league defined by quarterback, disrupting them is a hallmark of success. cleveland, 9 Sep. 2023 Frausto asked another hairstylist who was busy at work braiding at the start of our backstage interview, keeping with the deconstruction and subtle chaos that are hallmarks of Collina Strada’s runway beauty looks. Margaux Anbouba, Vogue, 9 Sep. 2023 The planned rail grinding should reduce the screeching sound or whirr that a news release notes as a hallmark of downtown. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, 8 Sep. 2023 Filled with what would become hallmarks of both Ghibli and Miyazaki's output—heroic young women, the joy of flight, and the delicate state of the natural world—Nausicaä set the standard for everything that followed. Matt Kamen, WIRED, 7 Sep. 2023 One of the hallmarks of PCOS is typically insulin resistance. Casey Seiden, Ms, Rdn, Cdn, Health, 22 Aug. 2023
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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hallmark.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use


1721, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1773, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hallmark was in 1721

Dictionary Entries Near hallmark

Cite this Entry

“Hallmark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hallmark. Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


: an official mark stamped on gold and silver articles in England to certify their purity
: a distinguishing characteristic or feature
bears the hallmarks of genius
hallmark verb


named for Goldsmith's Hall in London, England, where gold and silver articles formerly were tested for purity and stamped

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