id·​i·​o·​syn·​cra·​sy | \ ˌi-dē-ə-ˈsiŋ-krə-sē How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio) \
plural idiosyncrasies

Definition of idiosyncrasy

1a : a peculiarity of constitution or temperament : an individualizing characteristic or quality
b : individual hypersensitiveness (as to a drug or food)
2 : characteristic peculiarity (as of temperament) broadly : eccentricity

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Other Words from idiosyncrasy

idiosyncratic \ ˌi-​dē-​ō-​(ˌ)sin-​ˈkra-​tik How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio) \ adjective
idiosyncratically \ ˌi-​dē-​ō-​(ˌ)sin-​ˈkra-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio) \ adverb

Examples of idiosyncrasy in a Sentence

Her habit of using “like” in every sentence was just one of her idiosyncrasies. The current system has a few idiosyncracies.
Recent Examples on the Web Of course, the candid conversations reveal some of the artists' idiosyncrasies. Amir Vera, CNN, "'Verzuz' has everyone flocking to Instagram. Here's why the weekly battles are such a hit," 23 May 2020 What would the idiosyncrasies of my park date’s body be? Alexandra Jones,, "I’m Dating Someone New IRL… But We Haven’t Touched Yet," 19 May 2020 The for-profit world can’t afford idiosyncrasies like these. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "The Pulse of the Art World, Mid-Pandemic," 11 Apr. 2020 According to Reich, who directs one of the FluSight Network’s four participating teams, the ensemble approaches make optimal use of the component models’ idiosyncrasies. Charles Schmidt, Scientific American, "Real-time flu tracking," 18 Sep. 2019 The lack of a sea change in court partly has to do with the idiosyncrasies of musical copyright. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "All the Answers to the Big Questions Facing Today's Hitmaking Songwriters," 13 June 2019 Its highlights reflected the idiosyncrasies of local collectors. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Francis Bacon, from Tormented to Mellow, in Houston," 3 Mar. 2020 Ferris is a beautiful reader of Bruegel, and his book is more, not less, vivid for its idiosyncrasy. Julian Lucas, Harper's Magazine, "New Books," 30 Mar. 2020 Although it is widely considered a left-wing party because of its progressive position on social issues, its ties to the European Left, and so on, it is still possessed of its idiosyncrasies. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Did Ireland Go Populist Nationalist?," 14 Feb. 2020

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

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for idiosyncrasy

Greek idiosynkrasia, from idio- + synkerannynai to blend, from syn- + kerannynai to mingle, mix — more at crater

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Time Traveler for idiosyncrasy

Time Traveler

The first known use of idiosyncrasy was in 1604

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Statistics for idiosyncrasy

Cite this Entry

“Idiosyncrasy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for idiosyncrasy



English Language Learners Definition of idiosyncrasy

: an unusual way in which a particular person behaves or thinks
: an unusual part or feature of something


id·​i·​o·​syn·​cra·​sy | \ ˌi-dē-ə-ˈsiŋ-krə-sē How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio) \
plural idiosyncrasies

Kids Definition of idiosyncrasy

: an unusual way of behaving or thinking that is characteristic of a person When you know someone a long time, you become accustomed to their idiosyncrasies— Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator


id·​io·​syn·​cra·​sy | \ ˌid-ē-ə-ˈsiŋ-krə-sē How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio) \
plural idiosyncrasies

Medical Definition of idiosyncrasy

1 : a peculiarity of physical or mental constitution or temperament
2 : individual hypersensitiveness (as to a drug or food) anemia accompanying the use of a sulfa drug is usually considered to be due to idiosyncrasy

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