idiosyncrasy

noun

id·​i·​o·​syn·​cra·​sy ˌi-dē-ə-ˈsiŋ-krə-sē How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio)
plural idiosyncrasies
1
a
: a peculiarity of constitution or temperament : an individualizing characteristic or quality
b
: individual hypersensitiveness (as to a drug or food)
2
: characteristic peculiarity (as of temperament)
broadly : eccentricity
idiosyncratic adjective
idiosyncratically adverb

Example Sentences

Her habit of using “like” in every sentence was just one of her idiosyncrasies. The current system has a few idiosyncrasies.
Recent Examples on the Web Owing to an idiosyncrasy of Texas legal procedure, litigants can seek out specific judges by filing their suits in individual judicial districts. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, 1 July 2022 But as the broader culture becomes less tolerant of public displays of anger, and with an increasing number of close calls on the court, racket smashing suddenly no longer seems like an entertaining idiosyncrasy. New York Times, 30 Mar. 2022 The performance-art aspect of the project is matched by the idiosyncrasy of the inventory. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, 5 Feb. 2022 On its stage vanishes … An idiosyncrasy of the book is Gorman’s fondness for didactic digressions. New York Times, 7 Dec. 2021 Of course, the candid conversations reveal some of the artists' idiosyncrasies. Amir Vera, CNN, 23 May 2020 What would the idiosyncrasies of my park date’s body be? Alexandra Jones, refinery29.com, 19 May 2020 The for-profit world can’t afford idiosyncrasies like these. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 11 Apr. 2020 According to Reich, who directs one of the FluSight Network’s four participating teams, the ensemble approaches make optimal use of the component models’ idiosyncrasies. Charles Schmidt, Scientific American, 18 Sep. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'idiosyncrasy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Greek idiosynkrasia, from idio- + synkerannynai to blend, from syn- + kerannynai to mingle, mix — more at crater

First Known Use

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of idiosyncrasy was in 1604

Dictionary Entries Near idiosyncrasy

Cite this Entry

“Idiosyncrasy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idiosyncrasy. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

idiosyncrasy

noun

id·​io·​syn·​cra·​sy
ˌid-ē-ə-ˈsiŋ-krə-sē
plural idiosyncrasies
: a way of behaving or thinking that is characteristic of a person
idiosyncratic
ˌid-ē-ō-(ˌ)sin-ˈkrat-ik
adjective
idiosyncratically
-ˈkrat-i-k(ə-)lē
adverb

Medical Definition

idiosyncrasy

noun

id·​io·​syn·​cra·​sy ˌid-ē-ə-ˈsiŋ-krə-sē How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio)
plural idiosyncrasies
1
: a peculiarity of physical or mental constitution or temperament
2
: individual hypersensitiveness (as to a drug or food)
anemia accompanying the use of a sulfa drug is usually considered to be due to idiosyncrasy

More from Merriam-Webster on idiosyncrasy

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ