\ 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

According to Simonin and Roddy, phylogenetic evidence shows that changes in genome size and the relevant physiological traits occurred together. Quanta Magazine, "With ‘Downsized’ DNA, Flowering Plants Took Over the World," 16 June 2019 As the distinguishing traits of champions go, readiness is not a particularly scintillating one. Robert O'connell, The Atlantic, "The Toronto Raptors Were Ready," 14 June 2019 The analysis produced trait predictions for the suspect, police said. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Thornton man arrested in 1987 cold case murder of Fort Carson soldier," 14 June 2019 Her teams displayed the traits that will define the Cavaliers’ second post-LeBron James era. Chris Fedor,, "Lindsay Gottlieb’s hiring shows clear vision for Cleveland Cavaliers’ rebuild: Chris Fedor," 13 June 2019 But the goal must always be to stop humans from forming tribes on the basis of such a superficial trait. Sahil Handa, National Review, "Why I’m No Longer Talking to Anyone about Anything," 13 June 2019 Woods at his apex would send shivers through press conferences with his unblinking confidence, a trait Koepka has apparently adopted. Chris Brodeur,, "Generation Tiger: Young stars influenced by Woods will be on display at 2019 Travelers Championship," 13 June 2019 Now What did seem to matter was how stressed their owners were—cortisol levels in dogs synced up with those of their humans—and certain human personality traits. Mandy Oaklander, Time, "Why Being Neurotic Might Be Good for Your Dog," 12 June 2019 Using the traits of individuals to diagnose societies is intellectually treacherous enough; using them on an entire species is worse. Daniel Immerwahr, The New Republic, "All Over the Map," 11 June 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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Statistics for trait

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trait

The first known use of trait was in 1589

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on trait

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trait

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

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