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Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective characteristic contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of characteristic are distinctive, individual, and peculiar. While all these words mean "indicating a special quality or identity," characteristic applies to something that distinguishes or identifies a person or thing or class.

responded with her characteristic wit

When could distinctive be used to replace characteristic?

While in some cases nearly identical to characteristic, distinctive indicates qualities distinguishing and uncommon and often superior or praiseworthy.

a distinctive aura of grace and elegance

When can individual be used instead of characteristic?

Although the words individual and characteristic have much in common, individual stresses qualities that distinguish one from all other members of the same kind or class.

a highly individual writing style

When might peculiar be a better fit than characteristic?

The meanings of peculiar and characteristic largely overlap; however, peculiar applies to qualities possessed only by a particular individual or class or kind and stresses rarity or uniqueness.

an eccentricity that is peculiar to the British

Thesaurus Entries Near characteristic

Cite this Entry

“Characteristic.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

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