follow Dictionary.com

Is it "I could care less" or "I couldn't care less"?

characteristic

[kar-ik-tuh-ris-tik] /ˌkær ɪk təˈrɪs tɪk/
adjective
1.
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.
noun
2.
a distinguishing feature or quality:
Generosity is his chief characteristic.
3.
Mathematics.
  1. the integral part of a common logarithm.
    Compare mantissa.
  2. the exponent of 10 in a number expressed in scientific notation.
  3. the smallest positive integer n such that each element of a given ring added to itself n times results in 0.
Origin
1655-1665
1655-65; < Greek charaktēristikós. See character, -istic
Related forms
characteristically, adverb
noncharacteristic, adjective
noncharacteristically, adverb
quasi-characteristic, adjective
quasi-characteristically, adverb
uncharacteristic, adjective
uncharacteristically, adverb
Synonyms
1. special, peculiar. 2. attribute, property, trait. See feature.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for characteristic
  • Their essential feature is that they share one characteristic with private property and one with public goods.
  • Contagious laughter is a distinguishing characteristic of childhood.
  • 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.
  • The defining characteristic is pervasive instability in the patient's life, especially in relationships.
  • And that-the inheritance of an acquired characteristic-is quite startling.
  • Its outer layer is parchmentlike, which is characteristic of the ova of modern egg-burying reptiles such as turtles.
  • But acquiring a language is surely a skill, rather than a characteristic of the sort developmental psychologists hunt for.
  • Illness and old age both bring characteristic odours of their own, and neither state makes people more attractive.
British Dictionary definitions for characteristic

characteristic

/ˌkærɪktəˈrɪstɪk/
noun
1.
a distinguishing quality, attribute, or trait
2.
(maths)
  1. the integral part of a common logarithm, indicating the order of magnitude of the associated number: the characteristic of 2.4771 is 2 Compare mantissa
  2. another name for exponent, used esp in number representation in computing
adjective
3.
indicative of a distinctive quality, etc; typical
Derived Forms
characteristically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for characteristic

adjective and noun both first attested 1660s, from character + -istic on model of Greek kharakteristikos. Earlier in the adjectival sense was characteristical (1620s). Related: Characteristically (1640s). Characteristics "distinctive traits" also attested from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
characteristic in Medicine

characteristic char·ac·ter·is·tic (kār'ək-tə-rĭs'tĭk)
n.
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.
Cite This Source
characteristic in Science
characteristic
  (kār'ək-tə-rĭs'tĭk)   
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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for characteristic

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for characteristic

23
25
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with characteristic

Nearby words for characteristic