\ 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

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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 Horvath got the start behind quarterback Aidan O'Connell and showed all the traits of a go-to Big Ten ball carrier. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Told he was a linebacker, Purdue's Zander Horvath proving he's a running back — and more," 30 Nov. 2019 Typically, evolutionary biologists assume that traits shared widely across a related group are likely to have evolved in an ancestral population, not repeatedly and separately in each lineage. The Economist, "A new theory argues same-sex sexual behaviour is an evolutionary norm," 28 Nov. 2019 Along the way this team will have proved Stoops’ directive to never flinch when adversity hits has ingrained itself as the defining trait of the program. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "A never-give-up mentality has Kentucky football on the verge of bowl eligibility yet again," 17 Nov. 2019 Because of the individual traits of your facial and body skin, the moisturizers that target each are formulated to serve vastly different purposes beyond simple hydration and softening. Emma Sarran Webster, Allure, "Why You Shouldn’t Use Body Moisturizer on Your Face, According to Experts," 27 Oct. 2019 The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Ossai displayed all the tantalizing traits that allowed him to grow into a consensus top-20 weakside defensive end coming out of Conroe Oak Ridge. Nick Moyle,, "Longhorns notebook: LB Joseph Ossai coming into his own," 15 Oct. 2019 One common trait of both crashes is that pilots faced multiple cockpit alarms and alerts at the same time, confusing and distracting them at the very moments when clarity and concentration were most needed. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "NTSB Says Flawed Assumptions Doomed Boeing 737 MAX Flights," 27 Sep. 2019 Using these types of epigenetic techniques to predict the traits of living humans is still difficult, so applying it to the ancient DNA of an extinct hominin species has its limitations. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian, "Scientists Recreate the Face of a Denisovan Using DNA," 20 Sep. 2019 In order to take down the patriarchy, Egyptian-American journalist and activist Mona Eltahawy argues that women need to start embodying the traits they’ve been taught to repress, like being angry, lustful and ambitious. Annabel Gutterman, Time, "The 42 Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2019," 30 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for trait

Time Traveler

The first known use of trait was in 1589

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Statistics for trait

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Trait.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for trait


How to pronounce trait (audio) How to pronounce trait (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on trait

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trait

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trait

Spanish Central: Translation of trait

Nglish: Translation of trait for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trait for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about trait

Comments on trait

What made you want to look up trait? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


heavy with or as if with moisture

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