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 Ghosn’s idiosyncrasies and gumption—and magnetism for controversy—remind me of another leader in the world of EVs: Elon Musk. Elijah Wolfson, Time, "Carlos Ghosn, Now a Fugitive, Was an Electric-Car Visionary," 7 Jan. 2020 Sachs explores the inner-workings of Frankie's expansive family's idiosyncrasies to a fault. Garrett Mitchell, azcentral, "Isabelle Huppert shines in subtle, sensitive travelogue 'Frankie'," 31 Oct. 2019 But Devlin has her own body idiosyncrasies—a mutation in her eyes causes her to see visions. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Ars To-Be-Read: Our most anticipated books for the second half of 2019," 8 June 2019 Dueck argues that the president’s approach to foreign policy is far from a mere expression of his personal idiosyncrasies. Mario Loyola, National Review, "Foreign Policy in the Age of Trump," 5 Dec. 2019 Cleveland’s future growth may depend on finding its 21st century idiosyncrasy. Olivera Perkins, cleveland, "Greater Cleveland job growth lags regional peers; can we learn from Pittsburgh and Columbus?," 26 Oct. 2019 Further widening the Taylor circle, the season features a premiere by Kyle Abraham and recent works by Margie Gillis and Pam Tanowitz, who expertly mines Taylor’s style to accentuate its idiosyncrasies. New York Times, "The Week in Arts: Sleater-Kinney, Paul Taylor and ‘Synonyms’," 25 Oct. 2019 That gives me confidence to explore my idiosyncrasies. Glenn Whipp,, "For Hannah Gadsby, ‘Nanette’ and her new show are more ‘stand-up catharsis’ than belly laugh," 10 June 2019 The show, which aired at a time of mass bewilderment, was a captivating distillation of Ernst’s idiosyncrasies. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, "The Kremlin’s Creative Director," 9 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

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Idiosyncrasy.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 26 January 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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