\ ˈtrāt How to pronounce trait (audio) , British usually ˈtrā How to pronounce trait (audio) \

Essential Meaning of trait

formal : a quality that makes one person or thing different from another Humility is an admirable trait. [=quality] This dog breed has a number of desirable traits. See More Examplesfeminine/masculine traits inherited and acquired traitsHide

Full 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
b : touch, trace

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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 When the Cowboys selected Diggs in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, no trait mesmerized them more than his ball skills. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, 12 Oct. 2021 Dzingel's most visible trait looks to be his speed on skates. José M. Romero, The Arizona Republic, 10 Oct. 2021 Known as Matty, Coleman had light shaggy hair and a wide smile that revealed a slight overbite — a trait inherited from his father. Kevin T. Dugan, Rolling Stone, 9 Oct. 2021 These are great visionaries, but nobody would point out humility as a core trait in them. Chris Barbin, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 Kendall’s fatal flaw is impulsiveness — a trait his father has learned to project as temperamental intimidation. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 4 Oct. 2021 Khudobin — the 35-year-old with two seasons left on his contract at a $3.333 million cap hit — is unfailingly positive, a trait that may help him navigate the Stars’ logjam in net. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, 2 Oct. 2021 Each of the 11 chapters tackles a single trait or impulse, like lying and picking on others. Washington Post, 30 Sep. 2021 After all, Niccolò Machiavelli, generally associated with cunning, duplicity and the personality trait that bears his name, would seem an unlikely inspiration for today’s professional women. Barbara Spindel, WSJ, 26 Sep. 2021

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.

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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

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Trait.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for trait


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on trait

Nglish: Translation of trait for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trait for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about trait


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