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[pi-kyool-yer] /pɪˈkyul yər/
strange; queer; odd:
peculiar happenings.
uncommon; unusual:
the peculiar hobby of stuffing and mounting bats.
distinctive in nature or character from others.
belonging characteristically (usually followed by to):
an expression peculiar to Canadians.
belonging exclusively to some person, group, or thing:
the peculiar properties of a drug.
Astronomy. designating a star or galaxy with special properties that deviates from others of its spectral type or galaxy class.
a property or privilege belonging exclusively or characteristically to a person.
British. a particular parish or church that is exempted from the jurisdiction of the ordinary or bishop in whose diocese it lies and is governed by another.
peculiars, Also called arbitraries. British Printing. special characters not generally included in standard type fonts, as phonetic symbols, mathematical symbols, etc.
Origin of peculiar
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English; < Latin pecūliāris as one's own, equivalent to pecūli(um) property (derivative of pecū flock, farm animals; akin to pecus cattle (see fee)) + -āris -ar1
Related forms
peculiarly, adverb
unpeculiar, adjective
unpeculiarly, adverb
1. eccentric, bizarre. See strange. 2. extraordinary, singular, exceptional. 5. individual, personal, particular, special, unique.
2, 5. common. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for peculiar
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She was indeed a peculiar girl—the more the pity for the many that made her so!

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • That explained their presence there and their peculiar behavior.

    A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair
  • They are not tattooed, always use the sumpitan, and have a peculiar dialect.

  • Mrs Grey obviously considered that Margaret was her peculiar charge.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • The key, one of a peculiar make, hung always on his watch-chain.

    The Arbiter Lady F. E. E. Bell
British Dictionary definitions for peculiar


strange or unusual; odd: a peculiar individual, a peculiar idea
distinct from others; special
(postpositive) foll by to. belonging characteristically or exclusively (to): peculiar to North America
(printing) Also called arbitrary. a special sort, esp an accented letter
(Church of England) a church or parish that is exempt from the jurisdiction of the ordinary in whose diocese it lies
Derived Forms
peculiarly, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin pecūliāris concerning private property, from pecūlium, literally: property in cattle, from pecus cattle
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 peculiar

mid-15c., "belonging exclusively to one person," from Latin peculiaris "of one's own (property)," from peculium "private property," literally "property in cattle" (in ancient times the most important form of property), from pecu "cattle, flock," related to pecus "cattle" (see pecuniary). Meaning "unusual" is first attested c.1600 (earlier "distinguished, special," 1580s; for sense development, cf. idiom). Related: Peculiarly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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peculiar in the Bible

as used in the phrase "peculiar people" in 1 Pet. 2:9, is derived from the Lat. peculium, and denotes, as rendered in the Revised Version ("a people for God's own possession"), a special possession or property. The church is the "property" of God, his "purchased possession" (Eph. 1:14; R.V., "God's own possession").

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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