A hallmark is a distinctive characteristic of something or someone. That can mean a literal symbol on the bottom of a piece of pottery, or just a rock star's signature hair style.

Though some products have real hallmarks on them, indicating their creator or origin, this word is usually used in a less literal way to describe a unique attribute, a special style, or typical feature. A basketball player could say that coming to practice early is a hallmark of her success. A business could say their success is a hallmark of their commitment to customers. And you could definitely say Elvis' hip swivel was a hallmark of his performances.

Definitions of hallmark
  1. noun
    a mark on an article of trade to indicate its origin and authenticity
    synonyms: assay-mark, authentication
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    type of:
    insignia, mark, marker, marking
    a distinguishing symbol
  2. noun
    a distinctive characteristic or attribute
    synonyms: earmark, stylemark, trademark
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    mold, mould
    a distinctive nature, character, or type
    type of:
    a distinguishing quality
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