\ 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

Back to top Are there certain personality traits associated with anxiety? The Editors, Marie Claire, "Every Question About Anxiety You've Ever Had, Answered," 8 July 2019 Owners were scored on the Big Five Inventory personality traits: agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, openness and neuroticism. Rachel Desantis,, "Study Finds Cat Behaviors May Reflect Their Owners' Personality Traits," 2 July 2019 But once capitalism gets hold of a phenomenon like downloadable education, insights, traits, and experiences, people may have to get downloads in order to be competitive—or compatible—in the job market. Zoltan Istvan, Quartz, "In 15 years we’ll be able to upload education to our brains. So can I stop saving for my kids’ college?," 1 July 2019 Morris, who took part in Saturday’s celebration of the 1984 team — held prior to the Tigers' game — hasn’t noticed those same traits inside their current clubhouse, though. Chris Nelsen, Detroit Free Press, "Jack Morris says Detroit Tigers lack leaders: 'Talk all you want (but) you got to show it'," 29 June 2019 While this allowed farmers to more efficiently evaluate animals across many key traits, the process also led to even higher rates of inbreeding. Maureen O'hagan, Scientific American, "From Two Bulls, Nine Million Dairy Cows," 20 June 2019 And as a college football analyst, Tebow, like the others, has another crucial trait: something resembling personality. Raymond Mora,, "ESPN hires former Jets QB Josh McCown as NFL analyst," 18 June 2019 Besides the characters’ privilege, Tom and Dan share another fun trait: being verbally eviscerated by the women who are their bosses (Emma Thompson’s Katherine Newbury and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Selina Meyer). Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Late Night actor Reid Scott reflects on playing the 'privileged white prick'," 14 June 2019 From a hacker to a football star, street racer to MI5 agent, every character has a unique backstory, character traits, and abilities. Marc Saltzman, USA TODAY, "E3 2019: These action games featuring Luigi, Keanu and Minecraft will be on your list," 13 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

17 Jul 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

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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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