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peculiar Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. adjective satellite beyond or deviating from the usual or expected
    funny; rum; singular; queer; curious; odd; rummy.
    • a curious hybrid accent
    • her speech has a funny twang
    • they have some funny ideas about war
    • had an odd name
    • the peculiar aromatic odor of cloves
    • something definitely queer about this town
    • what a rum fellow
    • singular behavior
  2. adjective satellite unique or specific to a person or thing or category
    special; particular.
    • the particular demands of the job
    • has a particular preference for Chinese art
    • a peculiar bond of sympathy between them
    • an expression peculiar to Canadians
    • rights peculiar to the rich
    • the special features of a computer
    • my own special chair
  3. adjective satellite markedly different from the usual
    • a peculiar hobby of stuffing and mounting bats
    • a man...feels it a peculiar insult to be taunted with cowardice by a woman"-Virginia Woolf
  4. adjective satellite characteristic of one only; distinctive or special
    • the peculiar character of the Government of the U.S."- R.B.Taney

Pe*cul"iar adjective
L. peculiaris, fr. peculium private property, akin to pecunia money: cf. OF. peculier. See Pecuniary.
  1. One's own; belonging solely or especially to an individual; not possessed by others; of private, personal, or characteristic possession and use; not owned in common or in participation.
    And purify unto himself a peculiar people. Titus ii. 14.
    Hymns . . . that Christianity hath peculiar unto itself. Hooker.
  2. Particular; individual; special; appropriate.
    While each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat. Milton.
    My fate is Juno's most peculiar care. Dryden.
  3. Unusual; singular; rare; strange; as, the sky had a peculiarappearance. Syn. -- Peculiar, Special, Especial. Peculiar is from the Roman peculium, which was a thing emphatically and distinctively one's own, and hence was dear. The former sense always belongs to peculiar (as, a peculiar style, peculiar manners, etc.), and usually so much of the latter as to involve feelings of interest; as, peculiar care, watchfulness, satisfaction, etc. Nothing of this kind belongs to special and especial. They mark simply the relation of species to genus, and denote that there is something in this case more than ordinary; as, a special act of Congress; especial pains, etc.
    Beauty, which, either walking or asleep, Shot forth peculiar graces. Milton.
    For naught so vile that on the earth doth live, But to the earth some special good doth give. Shak.
Pe*cul"iar noun
  1. That which is peculiar; a sole or exclusive property; a prerogative; a characteristic.
    Revenge is . . . the peculiar of Heaven. South.
  2. (Eng. Canon Law) A particular parish or church which is exempt from the jurisdiction of the ordinary.

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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