\ ˈtrāt How to pronounce trait (audio) , British usually ˈtrā How to pronounce trait (audio) \

Definition of trait

1a : a distinguishing quality (as of personal character) curiosity is one of her notable traits
b : an inherited characteristic
2a : a stroke of or as if of a pencil
b : touch, trace

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Examples of trait in a Sentence

This dog breed has a number of desirable traits. honesty is one of her defining traits
Recent Examples on the Web So many of his previous roles had used that remarkable physical presence as a primary character trait. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, "Yaphet Kotto: From Broadway to ‘Homicide’ Boss," 16 Mar. 2021 The analysis also found other health issues, including sickle cell trait. Washington Post, "At the heart of Derek Chauvin’s trial is this question: What killed George Floyd?," 9 Mar. 2021 Its legs were longer than its arms, as in modern humans, making this the most-ancient hominin definitively known to have that trait. NBC News, "Painstaking study of 'Little Foot' fossil sheds light on human origins," 2 Mar. 2021 So many of us used the champagne pop highlighter as a personality trait! Marci Robin, Allure, "Becca Cosmetics Is Going Out of Business," 24 Feb. 2021 The deaths were due to heatstroke, cardiac issues, asthma and a condition related to the sickle cell trait. Marie Fazio, New York Times, "Family Reaches $3.5 Million Settlement in Death of Maryland Football Player," 17 Jan. 2021 Trump has for years cited his business acumen as a defining trait, and one that gave him an advantage over others seeking the presidency. Michelle Toh, CNN, "How Trump's billionaire business tycoon image was tarnished by the New York Times report," 28 Sep. 2020 Cauley-Stein also carries the Sickle Cell trait, which could possibly put him at higher risk of the coronavirus. Dallas News, "‘A legend was born’: Mavs C Willie Cauley-Stein celebrates birth of newborn child," 8 July 2020 Capturing this trait—known as negligible senescence—is the holy grail of aging research. Adrian Woolfson, WSJ, "‘Ageless’ Review: The Long Run," 26 Feb. 2021

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

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for trait

Middle French, literally, act of drawing, from Latin tractus — more at tract

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Statistics for trait

Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Trait.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for trait



English Language Learners Definition of trait

formal : a quality that makes one person or thing different from another


\ ˈtrāt How to pronounce trait (audio) \

Kids Definition of trait

: a quality that makes one person, animal, or thing different from another


\ ˈtrāt, British usually ˈtrā \

Medical Definition of trait

: an inherited characteristic

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Comments on trait

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