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redeeming feature

A good quality or aspect that makes up for other drawbacks, as in The house isn't very attractive, but the garden is the redeeming feature. This idiom, first recorded in 1827, uses redeem in the sense of “compensate.”
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Examples from the Web for redeeming feature
Historical Examples
  • The only redeeming feature of the physical situation that I recall is the momentous fact of a first pair of red-topped boots.

    Hawthorne and His Circle Julian Hawthorne
  • If there was one redeeming feature about the man I might be uneasy.

  • The only redeeming feature was a better garden than most London houses have, a strip as wide as the house, and thirty yards long.

  • He looked to see what redeeming feature he could find on his side.

    The Silver Lining John Roussel
  • A redeeming feature was the civility of the inn people, a fault their slowness.

    Glories of Spain Charles W. Wood
  • The moss had been the one redeeming feature of the roof's ugliness.

    Reels and Spindles Evelyn Raymond
  • Her one redeeming feature was her amiability, but as this frequently took a conversational turn, it was not without its drawbacks.

    Peggy Raymond's Way Harriet Lummis Smith
  • Its one redeeming feature is the difficulty it presents to the draughtsman.

    The History of "Punch" M. H. Spielmann
  • He felt that Charlie's recognition of his gentlemanliness was at any rate a redeeming feature.

    The Wheels of Chance H. G. Wells
  • Mile after mile was passed without meeting one redeeming feature.

    Due West Maturin Murray Ballou

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