\ˈtrāt, British usually ˈtrā \

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

Aren’t Americans already hard at work figuring out how to game fintech by masking our less-attractive digital traits? Joseph N. Distefano,, "Fintech lenders are tracking and judging your digital trail," 3 July 2018 Drake’s propensity toward confession, which has long been one of his most enthralling traits, sings throughout. Juan Vidal, Billboard, "Drake's Strikes Back With Double Album 'Scorpion'," 29 June 2018 Types of Hands: the Four Elements There are four basic hand shapes within palmistry, each connected with a different element and its associated traits. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "A Beginner's Guide to Reading Palms," 4 June 2018 There are genuine portrayals here that have their own traits, nuances and, thanks to Chase Brock’s inspired choreography, their own moves, too. Tim Smith,, "New jukebox musical 'Soul' delivers stacks of hits in vibrant production," 14 May 2018 Kerry supporters see in this campaign some of his trademark traits, especially his unflagging energy even in the face of potential failure. Matt Viser,, "Kerry quietly seeking to salvage Iran deal he helped craft," 4 May 2018 Not all the results are super-serious Along with ancestry and genetic health risk, a 23andMe report can give you fun insights into how your DNA may affect your physical and personality traits. Amanda Macmillan,, "7 Things You Need to Know Before You Try 23andMe," 25 Apr. 2018 As Wade and his VR friends run and dash and freak out within the real-life Stanley Hotel, the film comes to life—especially as the film's best character, Aech (Lena Waithe), reveals a lot of humorous personality traits. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Ready Player One’s film adaptation isn’t even good enough as a kids movie," 29 Mar. 2018 By bringing individuals closer into the presidential orbit who critics would argue exemplify some of the worst traits of Trumpism, the president and his team are doubling down. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "Why racially charged tweets by the wife of Bill Shine likely won’t matter much," 9 July 2018

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

9 Oct 2018

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

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


\ˈtrāt \

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

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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