\ 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

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 Another defining trait of Shanahan’s scheme is pre-snap motion, especially involving backs and tight ends. Andy Benoit,, "Jimmy Garoppolo Takes Charge, Richard Sherman Steps In: 10 Thoughts on the 49ers," 18 June 2018 The defining trait of Trump’s campaign and political profile was his embrace of white supremacy. Nick Maslow,, "Kanye West Accuses John Legend of Trying to 'Manipulate My Free Thought' Amid Trump Controversy," 26 Apr. 2018 She was also voted classmate with best character and best personality, traits that Anita exemplified throughout her life., "Anita M. Pensiero," 29 Apr. 2018 The company offers consumers a variety of products informing them of genetic traits related to health and ancestry. Bradley J. Fikes,, "Personal genomics company Helix raises $200 million," 9 July 2018 Barry’s skills at taking advantage of these traits allow him to befriend and negotiate with his new overlords, allowing him to survive and even thrive in this world. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "In The Robots of Gotham, AI has taken over the world — and become exactly like us," 7 July 2018 One of the key traits that separates hominins from apes is bipedalism, or walking upright on two legs, freeing the arms to throw spears, pick berries or carry children. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Ancient Toddler Was at Home on the Ground and in the Trees," 5 July 2018 Those were two of the traits Elvie Villa took away from after competing in last year’s U.S. Marines Corps Cadet & Junior Nationals. Lamond Pope, Lake County News-Sun, "Repeat performance: Bulldog Elite Wrestling Club qualifies nine for nationals for second straight year," 15 June 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

25 Sep 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).


characteristic trappings or dress

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