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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishcharacteristicchar‧ac‧ter‧is‧tic1 /ˌkærəktəˈrɪstɪk◂/ ●●○ S3 W2 noun [countable usually plural]  CHARACTER OF somethingCHARACTER/PERSONALITYa quality or feature of something or someone that is typical of them and easy to recognizecharacteristic of a baby discovering the physical characteristics of objectsdefining/distinguishing characteristic (=one that separates someone or something from others of the same type) Violent images are a defining characteristic of his work.COLLOCATIONSadjectivesa physical characteristicphysical characteristics such as your height and weighta personal characteristic (=relating to someone’s character)What are the personal characteristics that a leader requires?a human characteristicThe power of speech is an entirely human characteristic.a national characteristic (=typical of the people of a country)Organization is often seen as a German national characteristic.the main characteristic of somethingA new interest in art was one of the main characteristics of this period.a common characteristic (=that people or things share)Successful firms tend to have common characteristics.a distinguishing/distinctive characteristic (=separating someone or something from others of the same type)The blue feathers are the distinguishing characteristic of the male bird.a defining characteristic (=one that is necessary in order to be a particular type of person or thing)Originality is one of the defining characteristics of a great band.an important/essential characteristicAn essential characteristic of good teaching is that it must create interest in the learner.an inherited characteristicIntelligence is an inherited characteristic.a striking characteristicIts canals are one of Amsterdam’s most striking characteristics.verbshave a characteristic (also possess a characteristic formal)He has all the characteristics of a great husband.show a characteristic (also exhibit a characteristic formal)A material may exhibit the characteristics of both a liquid and a solid.share a characteristicThe group shared one characteristic - they were all under 25.inherit a characteristic (=get a characteristic from your parent)We all inherit physical characteristics from our parents.THESAURUScharacteristic something that is typical of someone or something and makes them easy to recognizeHe had several characteristics which made him different to the rest of his family.the physical characteristics of the brainHe studied the special characteristics of adult speech addressed to children.quality a characteristic of a person, especially a good one such as kindness or intelligenceTina has a lot of good qualities.I’m not sure about his leadership qualities.Obedience is a quality that my father admires.feature an important or interesting characteristic of something it seems to be a feature of modern society that we tend to judge ourselves by our work above everything else. A curious feature of the novel is the absence of women.The building still has many of its original features. property [usually plural] technical a characteristic of a substance or object, for example hardness or elasticity, or how it behaves – used especially in scientific contextsWe examined the physical properties of various metals.changes in the electrical properties of cellsSome plants have healing properties.attribute formal a good or useful characteristicI suspected I probably did not quite possess all the attributes required to succeed at the highest level.All living things are able to reproduce their kind, an attribute which no machine possesses..good/bad points good or bad characteristics – used when someone or something has both good and bad characteristicsThe seller will obviously emphasize the car’s good points.Draw up a list of your partner’s good and bad points.
Examples from the Corpus
characteristicTheir acidic characteristics makes them particularly suitable for the dairy industry, breweries and soft drink manufacturers.All great leaders share certain characteristics which must be seen as the key to their success.A chief characteristic of isolationism is not caring very much about what happens elsewhere.Ralph can be very mean sometimes. It's one of his less endearing characteristics.In this chapter we have seen that growth is an inherent characteristic of both the Kingdom and the Church.The main characteristics of capitalism are private ownership of capital and freedom of enterprise.The UK shares many characteristics with other European countries.The two diseases have a number of characteristics in common.But in fact lawyers vary all over the lot in their personality characteristics.Can you describe the robber's physical characteristics?The second characteristic of my industrial world is that it is incredibly international.The most striking characteristic of Morris's designs is a sensuous vitality derived from his deep love of nature.These are also the characteristics of good citizenship, and they should be emphasized in the teaching of all subjects.Leadership and honesty are the characteristics of a good manager.One of the characteristics of this species is the dark blue markings on its back.As educators, we are concerned with the characteristics of both learners and their environments.characteristic ofThe vase is characteristic of 16th century Chinese art.
characteristiccharacteristic2 ●●○ adjective  TYPICALvery typical of a particular thing or of someone’s character the highly characteristic (=very typical) flint walls of the local housescharacteristic of the qualities that were characteristic of the Nixon administrationsee thesaurus at typicalcharacteristically /-kli/ adverbRegisterIn everyday English, people usually say typical rather than characteristic:The building is typical of those in the area.
Examples from the Corpus
characteristicContrasts of major and minor keys with the same root, found but once in Stuck's first book, are characteristic.The choices are unlimited, but here are some of the characteristic elements which help to give a kitchen a particular atmosphere.Component subskills in reading and spelling A characteristic feature of any skill is a hierarchical organisation of component subskills.Larry, with characteristic generosity, invited everyone back to his house.What is characteristic of his interpretation is that he did not attribute any importance to the Maccabean movement.This pattern is characteristic of the local architecture.Naomi is meeting the changes in her life with characteristic optimism.In the advanced case, the upper limb is carried in a characteristic posture of flexion, adduction, and pronation.Each species of bird has its own characteristic song.Dress not only covers and decorates the body but instils in the wearer its own characteristic strengths and weaknesses.A few characteristic ways of changing minds may be examined.highly characteristicThis highly characteristic Fifties attitude makes Souza's work look as if it belongs to a time rather than a place.Basking is highly characteristic of arctic insects.
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