Synonyms of characteristic

(Entry 1 of 2)

something that sets apart an individual from others of the same kind
  • the ability to fashion tools and other characteristics that distinguish human beings from other animals

Synonyms for characteristic

Words Related to characteristic



Synonyms & Antonyms of characteristic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 serving to identify as belonging to an individual or group
  • the characteristic taste of licorice

Synonyms for characteristic

Words Related to characteristic

Antonyms for characteristic

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Frequently Asked Questions About characteristic

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

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Time Traveler for characteristic

Time Traveler

The first known use of characteristic was in 1646

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Cite this Entry

“Characteristic.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Nov. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on characteristic

Dictionary: Definition of characteristic

Medical Dictionary: Definition of characteristic

Nglish: Translation of characteristic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of characteristic for Arabic Speakers

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