If something is a characteristic of someone or something, it is a feature you would expect. A characteristic of classical-style architecture is large stone columns. A characteristic of poodles is their pom-pom like tails.

A characteristic feature needn't just be a something physically apparent, it can describe a type of personality or atmosphere as well, as in: "The characteristic of all funeral homes is their gloomy air." As their spelling and meaning implies, there is a close link between the words characteristic and character, meaning the essential nature of a thing, and in fact both words come from the ancient Greek kharackter, meaning a "symbol or imprint on the soul."

Definitions of characteristic
  1. adjective
    typical or distinctive
    “heard my friend's characteristic laugh”
    “red and gold are the characteristic colors of autumn”
    “stripes characteristic of the zebra”
    diagnostic, symptomatic
    characteristic or indicative of a disease
    distinctive, typical
    of a feature that helps to distinguish a person or thing
    characteristic of one only; distinctive or special
    exhibiting the qualities or characteristics that identify a group or kind or category
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    distinctive and not typical
    atypical, untypical
    not representative of a group, class, or type
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  2. noun
    a prominent attribute or aspect of something
    “generosity is one of his best characteristics
    synonyms: feature
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    sex character, sex characteristic, sexual characteristic
    those characteristics (both anatomical and psychological) that are strongly associated with one sex relative to the other
    a feature (quantity or property or function) that remains unchanged when a particular transformation is applied to it
    aspect, facet
    a distinct feature or element in a problem
    attracter, attraction, attractive feature, attractor, magnet
    a characteristic that provides pleasure and attracts
    any feature that is regarded as a sign of status (a particular power or quality or rank)
    centerpiece, centrepiece
    the central or most important feature
    a feature (or the order or arrangement of features) of anything having a complex structure
    excellence, excellency
    an outstanding feature; something in which something or someone excels
    outward features
    distinctive feature, distinguishing characteristic, peculiarity
    an odd or unusual characteristic
    safety feature
    feature of an artifact that is added to insure a user's safety
    primary sex character, primary sex characteristic, primary sexual characteristic
    the genetically determined sex characteristics bound up with reproduction (genitals and organs of reproduction)
    secondary sex character, secondary sex characteristic, secondary sexual characteristic
    the genetically determined sex characteristics that are not functionally necessary for reproduction (pitch of the voice and body hair and musculature)
    the development of male secondary sexual characteristics in a female (or prematurely in a young boy)
    calling card
    a distinguishing characteristic or behavior
    an aspect of something (as contrasted with some other implied aspect)
    sector, sphere
    a particular aspect of life or activity
    a superficial aspect as opposed to the real nature of something
    a general interest that leads people to want to know more
    tourist attraction
    a characteristic that attracts tourists
    type of:
    attribute, dimension, property
    a construct whereby objects or individuals can be distinguished
  3. noun
    a distinguishing quality
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    passport, recommendation
    any quality or characteristic that gains a person a favorable reception or acceptance or admission
    capability of existing or performing in harmonious or congenial combination
    the quality of being unable to exist or work in congenial combination
    point, spot
    an outstanding characteristic
    a distinguishing or individuating characteristic
    earmark, hallmark, stylemark, trademark
    a distinctive characteristic or attribute
    saving grace
    a redeeming quality or characteristic
    a characteristic to be considered
    the quality of being safe
    the quality of not being safe
    curability, curableness
    capability of being cured or healed
    incurability, incurableness
    incapability of being cured or healed
    directness, straightness
    trueness of course toward a goal
    having the characteristic of lacking a true course toward a goal
    the characteristic of being strong enough to withstand intellectual challenge
    ruralism, rurality
    a rural characteristic or trait
    a distinctive characteristic
    congeniality, congenialness
    compatibility between persons
    harmoniousness, harmony
    compatibility in opinion and action
    sympathetic compatibility
    agreement, correspondence
    compatibility of observations
    an incompatibility of dates or events
    incongruity, incongruousness
    the quality of disagreeing; being unsuitable and inappropriate
    selling point
    a characteristic of something that is up for sale that makes it attractive to potential customers
    mold, mould
    a distinctive nature, character, or type
    extreme dangerousness
    downrightness, straightforwardness
    the quality of being direct and straightforward
    immediacy, immediateness
    lack of an intervening or mediating agency
    the quality of being obviously directed at a particular person or thing
    a quality characterized by indirect reference
    mediacy, mediateness
    the quality of being mediate
    deviousness, obliqueness
    the quality of being oblique and rambling indirectly
    the quality of being discursive
    type of:
    an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone
  4. noun
    any measurable property of a device measured under closely specified conditions
    synonyms: device characteristic
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    type of:
    a basic or essential attribute shared by all members of a class
  5. noun
    the integer part (positive or negative) of the representation of a logarithm; in the expression log 643 = 2.808 the characteristic is 2
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    type of:
    integer, whole number
    any of the natural numbers (positive or negative) or zero
Word Family

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