\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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 trait that showed up most consistently: Haskins' ability to fall forward. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Why almost everyone except Michigan football whiffed on Hassan Haskins," 14 Nov. 2019 This involves identifying genetic variations associated with a trait, such as depression or schizophrenia, and then testing for those variations against an exposure, like smoking, in a group of subjects. Jack Guy, CNN, "Smokers may be at greater risk of depression and schizophrenia, study finds," 6 Nov. 2019 Both companies also shared another common trait: consumer demand for copiers and printers was down significantly, with enterprise products less so. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Xerox's reported HP bid could create a PC and printing juggernaut," 6 Nov. 2019 Anxiety is an illness, not a personality trait' Truth is, my anxiety is an illness. Weng Ian Cheong,, "It Took 2 Years of Suffering Panic Attacks Before I Finally Sought Help for My Anxiety," 25 Oct. 2019 In fact, its such a trait that more often than not is the sign of a side enough and equipped enough to deal with uncharacteristic sluggishness., "Arsenal May Sit Third in the Premier League Table - But Perspective Is Key," 13 Oct. 2019 While some research has found that melatonin may help treat hyperglycemia in people with diabetes, for example, other studies have shown that, in diabetes patients who carry certain genetic traits, melatonin may interfere with glucose regulation. Markham Heid, Time, "Is Melatonin Safe to Take Every Night?," 1 Oct. 2019 Endurance runners and farmers had larger, elongated ventricles with thin walls—traits that help pump large volumes of blood for a long time, the researchers report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Running—or sitting—can change the shape of your heart," 16 Sep. 2019 More recently, though, new players like Cole and outfielder Michael Brantley have brought both traits: leadership and elite production. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "The Astros Are Major League Baseball’s Happy Place," 16 Aug. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about trait

Time Traveler for trait

Time Traveler

The first known use of trait was in 1589

See more words from the same year

Statistics for trait

Last Updated

20 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Trait.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


not agreeing with established beliefs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!