id·​i·​o·​syn·​cra·​sy ˌi-dē-ə-ˈsiŋ-krə-sē How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio)
plural idiosyncrasies
: a peculiarity of constitution or temperament : an individualizing characteristic or quality
: individual hypersensitiveness (as to a drug or food)
: characteristic peculiarity (as of temperament)
broadly : eccentricity
idiosyncratic adjective
idiosyncratically 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 idiosyncrasies.
Recent Examples on the Web Recommended In 2011, the idiosyncrasies and histories of each folio were chronicled in two books based on the research of Dr. West and Dr. Rasmussen’s team. Roy Rivenburg, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Nov. 2023 Personal idiosyncrasies and backstories are kept to a minimum, while humanizing detail comes via in-the-moment actions. Guy Lodge, Variety, 13 Oct. 2023 But either due to his choices or the program’s idiosyncrasies, the album has an intriguingly unfinished feel, like a workbook left open. Jayson Greene, Pitchfork, 17 Oct. 2023 Some in Charleston, the state capital, insist that the Republican primary next spring is the race to watch, a test of whether West Virginia has held onto its populist idiosyncrasies or, like most states to its south, hardened into a bastion of Republican orthodoxy. Campbell Robertson, New York Times, 15 Oct. 2023 One longs to hear more about this hospitality professional’s likes and quirks — idiosyncrasies over and above her situation. Celia Wren, Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2023 Against a background of blight and bleakness, the characters dazzle us with their vivid idiosyncrasy. Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 Get To Know Staten Island’s Residents Additionally, the forthcoming season also promises to further explore the idiosyncrasies of Staten Island. Jon Stojan, USA TODAY, 22 Aug. 2023 But other states have their own idiosyncrasies where jurisdiction is for one city, or one population. Alexa Gagosz,, 17 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'idiosyncrasy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of idiosyncrasy was in 1604

Dictionary Entries Near idiosyncrasy

Cite this Entry

“Idiosyncrasy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural idiosyncrasies
: a way of behaving or thinking that is characteristic of a person

Medical Definition


id·​io·​syn·​cra·​sy ˌid-ē-ə-ˈsiŋ-krə-sē How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio)
plural idiosyncrasies
: a peculiarity of physical or mental constitution or temperament
: individual hypersensitiveness (as to a drug or food)
anemia accompanying the use of a sulfa drug is usually considered to be due to idiosyncrasy

More from Merriam-Webster on idiosyncrasy

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!