characteristic


characteristic
characteristic adj Characteristic, individual, peculiar, distinctive are comparable when they mean indicating or revealing the special quality or qualities of a particular person or thing or of a particular group of persons or things.
Characteristic stresses the indication or revelation not only of what is essential or typical, but of what distinguishes and serves to identify the person, the thing, or the group; the word, however, fixes the attention on the thing considered more as it is in itself than as it seems in contrast or relation to other things
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he answered with characteristic courtesy

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it was characteristic of the relationship between these two that, in all the pleadings and protests of the poor deferred lover, Sally never made the offer of convention and custom to release him— Deland

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a fertile oasis possesses a characteristic color scheme of its own— Huxley

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Individual (see also SPECIAL) not only implies a reference to a particular person or thing but also places much more stress on qualities that distinguish him or it from all other members of the same class or kind than does characteristic; it therefore usually applies to something that indicates or reveals a personality or a nature that is different from others
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that singularly individual voice of Tom's—mature, confident, seldom varying in pitch, but full of slight, very moving modulations— Cather

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the individual idiosyncrasies of each member of the great family— Anderson

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Peculiar (see also STRANGE) comes close to individual; it usually implies a reference to a person or thing as he or it is in himself or itself and as differentiated from all others of the same kind. It may, however, apply to such a class as a sex, a race, or a people. In this use, the term does not, as in its more common derived sense, necessarily carry any hint of strangeness or oddness ; rather it suggests private and undisputed possession (as of a quality, a character, an emotion, or a significance)
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a grief that was private and peculiarMeredith

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a drowsy fervor of manner and tone which was quite peculiar to her— Hardy

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in these aspects ... of his work we pretend to find what is individual, what is the peculiar essence of the man— T. S. Eliot

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habits both universal among mankind and peculiar to individuals— Allport

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Distinctive implies the possession of an individuality or peculiarity that marks the thing so described as apart from all others of its class or type and often, therefore, as worthy of special recognition or praise
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it is this . . . distinctive vision of the world as a whole which seems to give Leonardo that marvelous flair for detecting vital mechanism in every field— Ellis

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it is . . . the exquisite craftsmanship . . . that has given to free verse, alike in England and America, its most distinctive qualities— Lowes

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Analogous words: *special, especial, specific, particular: typical, natural, normal, *regular
characteristic n Characteristic, trait, feature mean something that marks or sets apart a person or thing.
Characteristic designates a constant property or quality that stands out in such a way as to distinguish a person or thing from others or to reveal him or it as he or it is; the term is applicable not only to persons and concrete objects but to things which are immaterial, intangible, or the product of abstraction
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here we must note in the man one very striking characteristic ... he appreciated the singularity of his talent— Belloc

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what was only an incidental and local damage . . . became a widespread characteristic of Western civilization— Mumford

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a constant alternation of lyricism and flatness ... is the salient characteristic of postwar verse technique— Day Lewis

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Trait applies especially to persons, peoples, or types and to their sharply accented qualities of character or of mind; otherwise, the term differs from characteristic only in its suggestions of clear definition and of distinctiveness
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Marino Lucero had not one trait in common with Martinez, except the love of authority— Cather

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what they like to do . . . not at all what they are fitted to do, is the rule of their effort. And it is the unfailing trait of the amateur— Brownell

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Feature, on the other hand, suggests not a quality or property, but a part or detail of a thing (as a face, a view, an object, or a character) which attracts and holds the attention by reason of its shape or form or by reason of its importance, its con- spicuousness, or its being pressed upon one's attention
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her eyes are her most admirable feature

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the great feature of the exposition is the new coliseum

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though the gloom had increased sufficiently to confuse the minor features of the heath, the white surface of the road remained almost as clear as ever— Hardy

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features so un-Egyptian that they practically prove that her cult was a local one— G. W. Murray

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In the United States the term feature is often applied specifically to something exhibited or advertised as particularly attractive and especially to the principal attraction in a motion-picture entertainment or to a distinctive or prominent article, story, or cartoon in a periodical
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a feature writer

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Analogous words: *quality, property, character: peculiarity, individuality (see corresponding adjectives at CHARACTERISTIC)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Characteristic — (from the Greek word for a property or attribute (= trait) of an entity) may refer to: In physics and engineering, any characteristic curve that shows the relationship between certain input and output parameters, for example: I V or current… …   Wikipedia

  • characteristic — [kar΄ək tər is′tik, kar΄iktər is′tik] adj. [Gr charaktēristikos: see CHARACTER] of or constituting the special character; typical; distinctive [the characteristic odor of cabbage] n. 1. a distinguishing trait, feature, or quality; peculiarity 2.… …   English World dictionary

  • characteristic — I noun aspect, attribute, cast, constitution, differentia, differential, distinction, distinctive feature, distinguishing trait, essence, essential part, feature, humor, idiocrasy, idiosyncrasy, immanence, inclination, individuality, inherence,… …   Law dictionary

  • Characteristic — Char ac*ter*is tic, a. [Gr. ?: cf. F. charact[ e]ristique.] Pertaining to, or serving to constitute, the character; showing the character, or distinctive qualities or traits, of a person or thing; peculiar; distinctive. [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • characteristic — [adj] typical; distinguishing appropriate, diagnostic, differentiating, discriminating, discriminative, distinctive, distinguishing, emblematic, especial, essential, exclusive, fixed, idiosyncratic, inborn, inbred, indicative, individual,… …   New thesaurus

  • Characteristic — Char ac*ter*is tic, n. 1. A distinguishing trait, quality, or property; an element of character; that which characterized. Pope. [1913 Webster] The characteristics of a true critic. Johnson. [1913 Webster] 2. (Math.) The integral part (whether… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • characteristic — characteristic. См. признак. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • characteristic — characteristic. = character (см.). (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • characteristic — adjective and noun both first attested 1660s, from CHARACTER (Cf. character) + ISTIC (Cf. istic) on model of Gk. kharakteristikos. Earlier in the adjectival sense was characteristical (1620s). Related: Characteristically. Characteristics… …   Etymology dictionary

  • characteristic — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ typical of a particular person, place, or thing. ► NOUN ▪ a feature or quality typical of a person, place, or thing. DERIVATIVES characteristically adverb …   English terms dictionary


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