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characteristic Line breaks: char|ac¦ter|is¦tic
Pronunciation: /karəktəˈrɪstɪk/

Definition of characteristic in English:


Typical of a particular person, place, or thing: he began with a characteristic attack on extremism
More example sentences
  • Dishes in each region have their own set of characteristic flavours.
  • She spoke all along with that characteristic exuberance on her face.
  • He battled his illness with characteristic courage and fortitude and displayed a positive attitude to the end.
typical, usual, normal, predictable, habitual, in character;


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1A feature or quality belonging typically to a person, place, or thing and serving to identify them: certain defining characteristics of the school emerge from the study
More example sentences
  • A national characteristic has been identified in numerous scientific trials.
  • Every facial feature and physical characteristic was identical to Alastair's.
  • At the same time, most of these characteristics belong to any good person.
quality, essential quality, property, trait, aspect, element, facet;
mannerism, manner, habit, custom, way, mark, trademark, hallmark, distinction;
idiosyncrasy, peculiarity, quirk, oddity, foible;
penchant, proclivity, bent
2 Mathematics The whole number or integral part of a logarithm, which gives the order of magnitude of the original number.
Example sentences
  • His early work was on quadratic forms in fields, particularly fields of characteristic 2.
  • His habilitation of 1938 studied Lie rings of prime characteristic.


Mid 17th century: from French caractéristique or medieval Latin characteristicus, from Greek kharaktēristikos, from kharaktēr 'a stamping tool'.

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