id·​i·​o·​syn·​cra·​sy | \ ˌi-dē-ə-ˈsiŋ-krə-sē How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio) \
plural idiosyncrasies

Definition of idiosyncrasy

1a : 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

Other Words from idiosyncrasy

idiosyncratic \ ˌi-​dē-​ō-​(ˌ)sin-​ˈkra-​tik How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio) \ adjective
idiosyncratically \ ˌi-​dē-​ō-​(ˌ)sin-​ˈkra-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio) \ adverb

Examples of idiosyncrasy in a Sentence

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,, 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.

First Known Use of idiosyncrasy

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for idiosyncrasy

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

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The first known use of idiosyncrasy was in 1604

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Cite this Entry

“Idiosyncrasy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for idiosyncrasy


id·​i·​o·​syn·​cra·​sy | \ ˌi-dē-ə-ˈsiŋ-krə-sē How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio) \
plural idiosyncrasies

Kids Definition of idiosyncrasy

: an unusual way of behaving or thinking that is characteristic of a person When you know someone a long time, you become accustomed to their idiosyncrasies— Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator


id·​io·​syn·​cra·​sy | \ ˌid-ē-ə-ˈsiŋ-krə-sē How to pronounce idiosyncrasy (audio) \
plural idiosyncrasies

Medical Definition of idiosyncrasy

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

Nglish: Translation of idiosyncrasy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of idiosyncrasy for Arabic Speakers

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