Also, characteristical. pertaining to, constituting, or indicating the character or peculiar quality of a person or thing; typical; distinctive: Red and gold are the characteristic colors of autumn.
a distinguishing feature or quality: Generosity is his chief characteristic.
the integral part of a common logarithm. Compare mantissa.
the exponent of 10 in a number expressed in scientific notation.
the smallest positive integer n such that each element of a given ring added to itself n times results in 0.

1655–65; < Greek charaktēristikós. See character, -istic

characteristically, adverb
noncharacteristic, adjective
noncharacteristically, adverb
quasi-characteristic, adjective
quasi-characteristically, adverb
uncharacteristic, adjective
uncharacteristically, adverb

1. special, peculiar. 2. attribute, property, trait. See feature. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
characteristic (ˌkærɪktəˈrɪstɪk)
1.  a distinguishing quality, attribute, or trait
2.  maths
 a.  Compare mantissa the integral part of a common logarithm, indicating the order of magnitude of the associated number: the characteristic of 2.4771 is 2
 b.  another name for exponent, used esp in number representation in computing
3.  indicative of a distinctive quality, etc; typical

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

both adj. and n. first attested 1660s, from character (q.v.) on model of Gk. kharakteristikos.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

characteristic char·ac·ter·is·tic (kār'ək-tə-rĭs'tĭk)
See character.

char'ac·ter·is'tic adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
characteristic   (kār'ək-tə-rĭs'tĭk)  Pronunciation Key 
The part of a logarithm to the base 10 that is to the left of the decimal point. For example, if 2.749 is a logarithm, 2 is the characteristic. Compare mantissa.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Their essential feature is that they share one characteristic with private
  property and one with public goods.
Risotto's characteristic creaminess and chewiness come from the rice itself,
  and risotto rice is no ordinary rice.
Mice respond to this discomfort with characteristic stretching movements.
Neither proteins nor sugars have a characteristic smell of their own.
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