Definition of idiosyncrasy
1a : a peculiarity of constitution or temperament : an individualizing characteristic or qualityb : individual hypersensitiveness (as to a drug or food)
2 : characteristic peculiarity (as of temperament); broadly : eccentricity
idiosyncraticplay \ˌi-dē-ō-(ˌ)sin-ˈkra-tik\ adjective
idiosyncraticallyplay \ˌi-dē-ō-(ˌ)sin-ˈkra-ti-k(ə-)lē\ 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 of idiosyncrasy from the Web
Putting culturally specific forms together on the same stage points to the many different ways dancers can celebrate rhythm and the idiosyncrasies of expressing culture with one's feet.
The translations, several of which were done by the editors, convey the individuality, if not idiosyncrasies, of these tales.
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.
Did You Know?
Idiosyncrasies are almost always regarded as harmless. So, for example, filling your house with guns and Nazi posters might be called something stronger than idiosyncratic. But if you always arrange your Gummi candies in table form by color and type, then eat them in a special order starting with the pterodactyls (purple ones must die first!), you might qualify. Harmless though your strange habits might be, they may not be the kind of thing you'd tell people about; most Americans are careful to hide their idiosyncrasies, since our culture doesn't seem to value odd behavior. The British, however, are generally fond of their eccentrics, and English villages seem to be filled with them. By the way, few words are harder to spell than idiosyncrasy—be careful.
Origin and Etymology of idiosyncrasy
Greek idiosynkrasia, from idio- + synkerannynai to blend, from syn- + kerannynai to mingle, mix — more at crater
First Known Use: 1604
IDIOSYNCRASY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of idiosyncrasy for English Language Learners
: an unusual way in which a particular person behaves or thinks
: an unusual part or feature of something
IDIOSYNCRASY Defined for Kids
Definition of idiosyncrasy for Students
: 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
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
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up idiosyncrasy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).