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 idiosyncratic (audio) \ adjective
idiosyncratically \ ˌi-​dē-​ō-​(ˌ)sin-​ˈkra-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce idiosyncratically (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 Bong’s Parasite is satire and psychological drama that portrays with devastating plausibility, and with all our wretched idiosyncrasies, the absolute worst of human nature. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "What Two Nominations for Best Picture Say About Film," 10 Feb. 2020 Garcia also thinks that the idiosyncrasies of certain fanbases results in differences in purchasing trends. Youyou Zhou, Quartz, "These are the concerts people will go to alone," 14 Jan. 2020 While safety systems and a capable chassis allow the driver to deal with the idiosyncrasies of winter drivers outside, occupants can carry on in oblivious bliss. cleveland, "Big Volkswagen Atlas shrugs off the snow," 8 Feb. 2020 That, plus the film retains Tarantino’s idiosyncrasies, from extreme gore to foot worship. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Oscars 2020 Spotlight: The Directors," 6 Feb. 2020 And Fort Point, like Anchor before it, is managing to draw on the city’s own idiosyncrasies. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "San Francisco’s new hometown brewery," 31 Jan. 2020 New infectious diseases come out of the blue, each with its own idiosyncrasies that militate against detailed advance planning. Robert Dingwall, Wired, "We Should Deescalate the War on the Coronavirus," 29 Jan. 2020 And interacting with customers has its own idiosyncrasies. Marc Bain, Quartz, "The unique challenges of selling fashion in China," 15 Jan. 2020 An American remake of the show, which placed the two families in New York and Pennsylvania, failed to capture the subtle idiosyncrasies that made the original so popular. The Economist, "I’m not going to lie “Gavin & Stacey” is a reminder that Britons can put differences aside," 26 Dec. 2019

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

Last Updated

26 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Idiosyncrasy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for idiosyncrasy


How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio)

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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