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[man-uh-riz-uh m] /ˈmæn əˌrɪz əm/
a habitual or characteristic manner, mode, or way of doing something; distinctive quality or style, as in behavior or speech:
He has an annoying mannerism of tapping his fingers while he talks. They copied his literary mannerisms but always lacked his ebullience.
marked or excessive adherence to an unusual or a particular manner, especially if affected:
Natural courtesy is a world apart from snobbish mannerism.
(usually initial capital letter) a style in the fine arts developed principally in Europe during the 16th century, chiefly characterized by a complex perspectival system, elongation of forms, strained gestures or poses of figures, and intense, often strident color.
1795-1805; manner1 + -ism
Related forms
mannerist, noun
manneristic, adjective
manneristically, adverb
nonmanneristic, adjective
semimanneristic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mannerisms
  • Almost all share physical traits and mannerisms with their parents.
  • Everything seen increasingly through a haze of alcohol as the evening proceeds and as tongues and mannerisms are loosened.
  • Depending upon how sophisticated and skillful you are, you can ape the mannerisms of a famous author as an inside joke.
  • Each of these great speakers has unusual mannerisms that were a part of his style and image.
  • His mannerisms, too, might seem suspect in someone with less impressive credentials.
  • Let's leave aside, in short, all the relatively harmless mannerisms and devices.
  • Soon, he took on the mannerisms of a gangster, and began to act tough and talk out of the corner of his mouth.
  • During the discussions, the researchers subtly but consistently mirrored the mannerisms and posture of the students.
  • They seem to have no exaggerated mannerisms, or quirks that are displayed for all to see.
  • Their acting has a relaxed, intuitive rhythm that cuts through the carnival of mannerisms that sometimes surrounds them.
British Dictionary definitions for mannerisms


a distinctive and individual gesture or trait; idiosyncrasy
(often capital) a principally Italian movement in art and architecture between the High Renaissance and Baroque periods (1520–1600) that sought to represent an ideal of beauty rather than natural images of it, using characteristic distortion and exaggeration of human proportions, perspective, etc
adherence to a distinctive or affected manner, esp in art or literature
Derived Forms
mannerist, noun
manneristic, manneristical, adjective
manneristically, 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
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Word Origin and History for mannerisms



"excessive use of distinctive methods in art or literature," 1803, from manner + -ism. Meaning "an instance of mannerism, habitual peculiarity" is from 1819. Related: Mannerisms.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mannerisms in Medicine

mannerism man·ner·ism (mān'ə-rĭz'əm)
A distinctive behavioral trait; an idiosyncrasy.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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