"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[kar-ik-tuh-ris-tik] /ˌkær ɪk təˈrɪs tɪk/
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.
a distinguishing feature or quality:
Generosity is his chief characteristic.
  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 of characteristic
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
1. special, peculiar. 2. attribute, property, trait. See feature. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for uncharacteristic
  • It's an uncharacteristic buy for them, since the company traditionally hasn't bothered much with voice technology.
  • After an uncharacteristic period of misery, she reinvented herself as a lecturer.
  • Here, in a four-floor wing dedicated to cardiac science, is a research center equally uncharacteristic of its surroundings.
  • It was an uncharacteristic bumble, and the race spun out of control from there.
  • Tony did so, but with a kind of hesitation that was uncharacteristic of him.
  • The gesture was both uncharacteristic and involuntary.
  • His family and friends noticed no uncharacteristic behavior, no false notes, over the weekend.
  • Tossing her head back, she let flow an uncharacteristic cascade of laughter.
  • Students under the influence of bath salts may exhibit bizarre behaviors uncharacteristic of their personality.
  • Threats to the false map turtle include destruction of habitat from reservoirs, channelization, and uncharacteristic river flows.
British Dictionary definitions for uncharacteristic


not typical or usual


a distinguishing quality, attribute, or trait
  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
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 uncharacteristic

1753, from un- (1) "not" + characteristic (adj.). Related: Uncharacteristically.


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
uncharacteristic in Medicine

characteristic char·ac·ter·is·tic (kār'ək-tə-rĭs'tĭk)
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
uncharacteristic in Science
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 uncharacteristic

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for uncharacteristic