Meaning of characteristic in English:


Pronunciation /ˌkarɪktəˈrɪstɪk/

See synonyms for characteristic

Translate characteristic into Spanish


  • Typical of a particular person, place, or thing.

    ‘he began with a characteristic attack on extremism’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Michael died following a relatively short illness borne with characteristic bravery and courage.’
    • ‘The Queen turned at the top of the cathedral steps to acknowledge well-wishers with a broad smile and characteristic wave.’
    • ‘He tackled the central themes of the war with characteristic wit during a lecture last year at the Edinburgh Book Festival.’
    • ‘Alongside these broad visions is characteristic attention to detail.’
    • ‘Here he has met some setbacks, but with characteristic determination he is going to try again.’
    • ‘She readily posed for group photos with that characteristic smile always on her lips.’
    • ‘Even when he returned to Africa he described the experience in characteristic terms.’
    • ‘Kara couldn't help smiling at Toni's characteristic ability to understand her better than she understood herself.’
    • ‘Different health conditions impede development in characteristic ways.’
    • ‘There is one characteristic thread that runs through the various ways in which these authority figures expressed themselves.’
    • ‘From my experience, what is very characteristic of what we see here in Thailand is the failed attempt to win a real trophy.’
    • ‘Not only did he write a great story, but he also directed it with characteristic verve and energy.’
    • ‘It is very characteristic of the Hellenistic period, but shows evidence of an Augustan remodelling.’
    • ‘Cremation of the dead is one of the most characteristic features of Indian or Hindu civilization.’
    • ‘By that time, he had evolved that characteristic style of his.’
    • ‘‘Our band is hugely gifted,’ he has explained with characteristic modesty.’
    • ‘Benton looked about the table and, with characteristic bluntness, said, ‘Who are all these people?’’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To see an apprentice with these qualities and characteristics was not a common sight in the eighties.’
    • ‘There can be no doubt that soil characteristics do influence wine quality.’
    • ‘Whether such characteristics do define what it is to be British today is debatable.’
    • ‘A sentimental identification with the underdog is one of our national characteristics.’
    • ‘Religious dissent is a key characteristic of Scots-Irish identity.’
    • ‘These characteristics were presumably inherited from his mother, a German princess.’
    • ‘Is Hinduism a religion like others, and what are the principal characteristics which define it?’
    • ‘From the same list, I had to choose the characteristics that others would attribute to me.’
    • ‘It may seem facile, but teams do reflect the traits and characteristics of their coaches.’
    • ‘The characteristic that distinguishes international politics from internal politics is the absence of government.’
    • ‘A distinguishing characteristic of female voters is their caution.’
    • ‘The slow, melancholic songs are a distinctive characteristic of her music.’
    • ‘The characteristic which has most marked his career has been his good judgement.’
    • ‘Perhaps one characteristic above all else defines explorers.’
    • ‘Some sharks have distinct characteristics that set them apart from others.’
    • ‘Each of these has its own characteristics and is therefore distinguishable from the others.’
    • ‘Sociability is a distinguishing characteristic of the islands and often is commented on by visitors.’
    attribute, feature
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  • 2Mathematics
    The whole number or integral part of a logarithm, which gives the order of magnitude of the original number.

    ‘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’.