Definition of idiosyncrasy in English:


Syllabification: id·i·o·syn·cra·sy
Pronunciation: /ˌidēəˈsiNGkrəsē

noun (plural idiosyncrasies)

(usually idiosyncrasies)
  • 1A mode of behavior or way of thought peculiar to an individual: one of his little idiosyncrasies was always preferring to be in the car first
    More example sentences
    • And, of course, every person who engages in these behaviors has their own unique idiosyncrasies of personality and behavior and history that contribute to why they did it.
    • Because, despite all of the wallowing and hating I do, despite all my idiosyncrasies and neurotic behavior, my husband loves me.
    • Any event like a wedding always has the little idiosyncrasies associated with family.
  • 1.1A distinctive or peculiar feature or characteristic of a place or thing: the idiosyncrasies of the prison system
    More example sentences
    • An hour of his pieces for wind instruments is extremely rewarding, for he handles their characteristic timbres, idiosyncrasies and eccentricities most attractively.
    • Each platform has its unique features and idiosyncrasies.
    • It is a deft sketch of significant features, images, and idiosyncrasies of time and place, but, like the characters that people it, is never a fully-fledged portrait.
  • 1.2 Medicine An abnormal physical reaction by an individual to a food or drug.
    More example sentences
    • It was now also an allergic idiosyncrasy in which people became sensitized to inhaled, ingested, or absorbed ‘asthmogenic’ agents.
    • They suggested that allergy and food idiosyncrasy may coexist.
    • The title is ‘The diagnosis of aspirin idiosyncrasy by analgesic challenge’.


early 17th century (originally in the sense 'physical constitution peculiar to an individual'): from Greek idiosunkrasia, from idios 'own, private' + sun 'with' + krasis 'mixture'.

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a small amount; a little