\ 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 The guy had two desirable traits: a six pack and a job. Lisa Bonos, Washington Post, "‘Do I like this guy enough to risk catching coronavirus?’ The epidemic has made dating even more complicated.," 10 Mar. 2020 And every newcomer to America with hopes, dreams, and aspirations for a better life for their children and the future — those are American traits. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "Pelosi: Trump reelection puts 'civilization as we know it' at risk," 9 Mar. 2020 Most of these had one or two helpful traits—easy to manipulate or able to hold their state for longer—but lacked enough of the others to keep them from being practical computing solutions. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "New entry in commercial quantum computing, using entirely different tech," 3 Mar. 2020 But the unique diet speaks to the potential for the lake population to have genetic, evolutionary and behavioral traits that contribute to the health of the broader group. Dan Joling, Anchorage Daily News, "Group seeks endangered species listing for Alaska’s freshwater seals," 6 Feb. 2020 So Forbes went on a recruitment tour to find athletes at the school who might not have an extensive gymnastics background, but who might have enough traits from other sports that translate. Scott Souza,, "For Newton co-op, boys’ gymnastics remains a must-see event," 31 Jan. 2020 Still, most new products in the riflescope category have traits that appeal to long-range shooters: first-focal plane reticles, tactical milling turrets, and ample adjustment ranges. Andrew Mckean, Outdoor Life, "Nikon Will No Longer Make Riflescopes," 20 Jan. 2020 The molecules included amines, which are nitrogen- and oxygen-containing organic molecules that have some similar traits to those on Earth, according to the study's abstract. Fox News, "New organic molecules discovered on Saturn moon Enceladus," 3 Oct. 2019 Chirality, or handedness, is a naturally occurring property of asymmetry, meaning organisms that have this trait can't be transformed into their mirror images. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "We Can Learn a Lot from the Twisted Molecules in Seashells," 30 Sep. 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

26 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Trait.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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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

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