peculiar

adjective
pe·cu·liar | \pi-ˈkyül-yər \

Definition of peculiar 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : characteristic of only one person, group, or thing : distinctive … a drowsy fervour of manner and tone which was quite peculiar to her.— Thomas Hardy

2 : different from the usual or normal:

a : special, particular a matter of peculiar interest

b : odd, curious It seems peculiar that she would leave town without telling anybody.

c : eccentric, queer The play had a zany plot and very peculiar characters.

peculiar

noun
pe·cu·liar | \pi-ˈkyül-yər \

Definition of peculiar (Entry 2 of 2)

: something exempt from ordinary jurisdiction especially : a church or parish exempt from the jurisdiction of the ordinary in whose territory it lies

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Other Words from peculiar

Adjective

peculiarly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for peculiar

Adjective

characteristic, individual, peculiar, distinctive mean indicating a special quality or identity. characteristic applies to something that distinguishes or identifies a person or thing or class. responded with her characteristic wit individual stresses qualities that distinguish one from all other members of the same kind or class. a highly individual writing style peculiar applies to qualities possessed only by a particular individual or class or kind and stresses rarity or uniqueness. an eccentricity that is peculiar to the British distinctive indicates qualities distinguishing and uncommon and often superior or praiseworthy. a distinctive aura of grace and elegance

strange, singular, unique, peculiar, eccentric, erratic, odd, quaint, outlandish mean departing from what is ordinary, usual, or to be expected. strange stresses unfamiliarity and may apply to the foreign, the unnatural, the unaccountable. a journey filled with strange sights singular suggests individuality or puzzling strangeness. a singular feeling of impending disaster unique implies singularity and the fact of being without a known parallel. a career unique in the annals of science peculiar implies a marked distinctiveness. the peculiar status of America's first lady eccentric suggests a wide divergence from the usual or normal especially in behavior. the eccentric eating habits of preschoolers erratic stresses a capricious and unpredictable wandering or deviating. a friend's suddenly erratic behavior odd applies to a departure from the regular or expected. an odd sense of humor quaint suggests an old-fashioned but pleasant oddness. a quaint fishing village outlandish applies to what is uncouth, bizarre, or barbaric. outlandish fashions of the time

Peculiar Has Latin Roots

Adjective

Peculiar comes from Latin peculiaris, an adjective meaning "privately owned" or "special" that is derived from the word for "property," peculium. Those words are cognate with pecu, a word for "cattle" that is also etymologically linked to a few English words related to money. Among these are pecuniary ("of or relating to money"), peculate ("to embezzle"), and impecunious ("having very little or no money"). Peculiar borrowed the Latin meanings of peculiaris, but it eventually came to refer to qualities possessed only by a particular individual, group, or thing. That sense is commonly followed by the preposition to, as in "a custom peculiar to America." In time, peculiar was being used specifically for unusual qualities, as well as the individuals that possessed them, which led to the word's "odd," "curious," and "eccentric" senses.

Examples of peculiar in a Sentence

Adjective

As military coups go, this was a most peculiar one, bloodless, and in Bangkok at least quite popular. — Ian Buruma, New York Review, 1 Mar. 2007 Right about then, Ensberg got himself back on the field, where a peculiar thing happened: he stopped thinking. — Tom Friend, ESPN, 28 Aug. 2006 I smell again the peculiar and dynamic smell of Gillespie's science room. — Muriel Spark, Curriculum Vitae, (1992) 1993 It seems peculiar that he would leave town and not tell anybody. The dog's peculiar behavior worried them. She got a peculiar feeling when the phone rang. She had a peculiar expression on her face.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Ironically, that same level of self-awareness can be found in Walker’s peculiar, and perhaps offensive, theories. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "From Dolphin Ethics to Moon Landings, Lonnie Walker IV Unloads Scorching Takes," 21 June 2018 Pope Pius XIII, one of the most peculiar TV characters in recent memory. Matthew Gilbert, BostonGlobe.com, "John Malkovich joins Jude Law in HBO’s ‘New Pope’," 3 July 2018 In a quest to preserve the peculiar, the couple created Bella Vista’s Narnia. Stephanie Farr, Philly.com, "Couple's historic Philly home came with an unusual caveat: Annual battle reenactments | We the People," 23 May 2018 USA Really is the latest in these propaganda efforts — and maybe the most peculiar. NBC News, "This man is running Russia's newest propaganda effort in the U.S. — or at least he's trying to," 15 June 2018 The most peculiar accessory HP introduced is the Mindframe Headset, a gaming headset with internal cooling technology. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "HP Omen 15 laptop gets Nvidia Max-Q graphics, sleeker design with slim bezels," 30 May 2018 Trump’s meeting with Putin will command headlines and think pieces for days, and understandably so; for all Trump’s political peculiarities, his personal relationship with Putin is the most peculiar of all. Ian Bremmer, Time, "Trump and Putin Will Call Their Summit a Success. But Don't Expect U.S.-Russia Relations to Improve," 6 July 2018 And this is what’s most peculiar about Rachel Cusk — her assertion of the primacy of personal experience expands, rather than contracts, her sense of right and wrong. Jordan Larson, The Cut, "Rachel Cusk’s Rules for Living," 25 June 2018 But the royals, aside from the Queen and Prince Philip, are often seen wearing another rather peculiar accessory at the horse-racing event: a name tag. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Even Kate Middleton Has to Wear a Name Tag at the Royal Ascot," 18 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'peculiar.' 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 peculiar

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1562, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for peculiar

Adjective

Middle English peculier, from Latin peculiaris of private property, special, from peculium private property, from pecu cattle; akin to Latin pecus cattle — more at fee

Noun

see peculiar entry 1

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Phrases Related to peculiar

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Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for peculiar

The first known use of peculiar was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for peculiar

peculiar

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of peculiar

: not usual or normal

: not well : somewhat ill

peculiar

adjective
pe·cu·liar | \pi-ˈkyül-yər \

Kids Definition of peculiar

1 : of or limited to only one person, thing, or place It's a custom peculiar to England.

2 : different from the usual : odd

Other Words from peculiar

peculiarly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on peculiar

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for peculiar

Spanish Central: Translation of peculiar

Nglish: Translation of peculiar for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of peculiar for Arabic Speakers

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