Meaning of CHARACTERISTIC in English


I. |karə̇ktə|ristik, -rēk-, -tēk also |ker- adjective

Etymology: Greek charaktēristikos, from charaktēr + -istikos -istic

: belonging to or especially typical or distinctive of the character or essential nature of

the gaiety characteristic of children on a holiday

the white cliffs characteristic of the coast at Dover

a poetic style characteristic of the epic

folklore is characteristic only of the group which creates it — Abram Kardiner


characteristic , individual , peculiar , and distinctive all describe special or identifying qualities or traits. characteristic often stresses the typical nature of the qualities mentioned but is likely also to indicate that they distinguish the item described

the dispersed settlement, large plantations, loose government, and individualism characteristic of the South, as compact village communities were characteristic of New England — S.E.Morison & H.S.Commager

having nothing in them that is characteristic, or that discriminates them from the letters of any other young man — William Cowper

individual stresses distinguishing or identifying qualities

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

his letters to her … are a simple, perfectly individual, daily record of a great passion — Arthur Symons

peculiar , sometimes interchangeable with individual , may stress the uncommon and may have a wider application and less force

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

the product of a force which was not peculiar to England but was operative in England and in France simultaneously — A.J.Toynbee

habits both universal among mankind and peculiar to individuals — F.H.Allport

distinctive , less individualizing than peculiar or individual indicates uncommon distinguishing characteristics, often praiseworthy ones

it is rather the exquisite craftsmanship of France … that has given to free verse … its most distinctive qualities — J.L.Lowes

lacks distinctive personal traits — M.R.Cohen

II. noun

( -s )

1. : a trait, quality, or property or a group of them distinguishing an individual, group, or type : that which characterizes or is characteristic

the Welsh characteristics are indelibly stamped — Wilfrid Goatman

the usual characteristics of matter — mass, rigidity, etc. — A.S.Eddington

reptilian characteristics

2. physics

a. : any of the variables pertaining to the normal performance of a device (as the grid voltage, plate current, or tube resistance of a vacuum tube or the voltage and watt rating of a lamp)

b. : characteristic curve

3. : the integral part of a common logarithm, being for a number greater than unity one less than the number of digits to the left of the decimal point, and for a number less than unity negative and numerically one more than the number of zeros between the decimal point and the first digit

III. noun

: the smallest positive integer n which for an operation in a ring, integral domain, or field yields 0 when any element is used n times with the operation and which is arbitrarily denoted by 0 or ∞ if no such integer exists

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.