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

Still, statistics from individual schools can serve as a window into each institution’s idiosyncrasies. Alia Wong, The Atlantic, "The Most Popular Names of This Year’s College Freshmen," 12 Sep. 2019 Going to such lengths to brush Trump the right way, including maneuvering him into a one-on-one lunch on the summit’s first day, showed that Macron can be a quick study, capable of adapting to Trump’s idiosyncrasies. Washington Post, "Macron’s G-7 performance arms him for likely troubles ahead," 28 Aug. 2019 But these idiosyncrasies aside, Leka is mostly a happy, social dog. Kathryn Miles, Outside Online, "How to Introduce Your New Dog to Your Old Dog," 14 Aug. 2019 Standardization and mass production were paramount, though idiosyncrasies—a pop of color here, a geometric motif there—inevitably crept in. Laura Mallonee, WIRED, "Ugly or Beautiful? The Housing Blocks Communism Left Behind," 6 Aug. 2019 But physicist and author of the Spectra comic series Rebecca C. Thompson couldn't simply accept the scientific rules that seem to be behind the many idiosyncrasies in HBO's smash hit. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Ars To-Be-Read: Our most anticipated books for the second half of 2019," 8 June 2019 The retired long snapper picked up a lot in 16 seasons and 245 games, noting the tendencies, nuances and idiosyncrasies of kickers along the sideline — not just for the Bears, but opponents as well. Brad Biggs,, "Brad Biggs’ 10 thoughts on the Bears’ 16-14 win over the Broncos in Week 2," 16 Sep. 2019 Nations have traits, mannerisms, accents, idiosyncrasies, predispositions, and beliefs. Richard Brady, National Review, "Valley of the Shadow," 31 Aug. 2019 If attached, the two of you need to accept the other's idiosyncrasies., "Horoscope," 29 Aug. 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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Statistics for idiosyncrasy

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for idiosyncrasy

The first known use of idiosyncrasy was in 1604

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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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