American Dictionary of the English Language

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CHARACTERISTICAL, adjective That constitutes the character; that marks the peculiar, distinctive qualities of a person or thing.

Generosity is often a characteristic virtue of a brave man.

It is followed by of.

Generosity is characteristic of true bravery.


1. That which constitutes a character; that which characterizes; that which distinguishes a person or thing from another.

Invention is the characteristic of Homer.

2. In grammar, the principal letter of a word, which is preserved in most of its tenses, in its derivatives and compounds.

The characteristic of a logarithm, is its index or exponent.

The characteristic triangle of a curve, in geometry, is a rectilinear right-angled triangle, whose hypotenuse makes a part of the curve, not sensibly different from a right line.