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[hawl-mahrk] /ˈhɔlˌmɑrk/
an official mark or stamp indicating a standard of purity, used in marking gold and silver articles assayed by the Goldsmiths' Company of London; plate mark.
any mark or special indication of genuineness, good quality, etc.
any distinguishing feature or characteristic:
Accuracy is a hallmark of good scholarship.
verb (used with object)
to stamp or imprint (something) with a hallmark.
1715-25; Goldsmiths' Hall, London, the seat of the Goldsmiths' Company + mark1
Related forms
hallmarker, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for hallmarks
  • They were either hallmarks of full dress, or nonexistent.
  • hallmarks of an ideal position have little to do with weather, lifestyle, or socio-political milieu.
  • There are rooms and hallmarks in and around my city's natural history museum that have not changed for many decades.
  • During the embryo stage of life, cells become organized into tissues and organs, one of the hallmarks of all animal species.
  • Oldest known bat lacked hallmarks of echolocation.
  • Social togetherness, empathy and cooperation are hallmarks of humanity.
  • After all, one of the hallmarks of weather is its variability and seeming unpredictability.
  • Procrastination is one of the hallmarks of that disorder.
  • All the hallmarks of a space faring species negotiating its first steps.
  • One of the hallmarks of beer is-an oppositional one is-that you cannot tell a vintage.
British Dictionary definitions for hallmarks


(Brit) an official series of marks, instituted by statute in 1300, and subsequently modified, stamped by the Guild of Goldsmiths at one of its assay offices on gold, silver, or platinum (since 1975) articles to guarantee purity, date of manufacture, etc
a mark or sign of authenticity or excellence
an outstanding or distinguishing feature
(transitive) to stamp with or as if with a hallmark
Also (for senses 1, 4) platemark
Word Origin
C18: named after Goldsmiths' Hall in London, where items were graded and stamped
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
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Word Origin and History for hallmarks



1721, official stamp of purity in gold and silver articles, from Goldsmiths' Hall in London, site of the assay office; see hall + mark (n.1). General sense of "mark of quality" first recorded 1864. As a verb from 1773.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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