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characteristic Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a prominent attribute or aspect of something
    • the map showed roads and other features
    • generosity is one of his best characteristics
  2. noun a distinguishing quality
  3. noun the integer part (positive or negative) of the representation of a logarithm; in the expression log 643 = 2.808 the characteristic is 2
  4. noun any measurable property of a device measured under closely specified conditions
    device characteristic.
  5. adjective typical or distinctive
    • heard my friend's characteristic laugh
    • red and gold are the characteristic colors of autumn
    • stripes characteristic of the zebra

Char`ac*ter*is"tic adjective
Gr. : cf. F. charactéristique.
  1. Pertaining to, or serving to constitute, the character; showing the character, or distinctive qualities or traits, of a person or thing; peculiar; distinctive.
    Characteristic clearness of temper. Macaulay.
Char`ac*ter*is"tic noun
  1. A distinguishing trait, quality, or property; an element of character; that which characterized. Pope.
    The characteristics of a true critic. Johnson.
  2. (Math.) The integral part (whether positive or negative) of a logarithm.

Webster 1913

"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

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