Definition of idiosyncrasy in English:



  • 1A mode of behaviour or way of thought peculiar to an individual.

    ‘one of his little idiosyncrasies was always preferring to be in the car first’
    • ‘One footballer is seen as much like another, their idiosyncrasies, their individual character submerged beneath the mass marketing tools.’
    • ‘This is as close as possible to a guarantee against party political abuse, and it minimises the impact of individual idiosyncrasies.’
    • ‘Try mocking your hang-ups and idiosyncrasies.’
    • ‘On the rest of the album, the songs adhere far more closely to the folky singer-songwriter standard, though always with Chasny's idiosyncrasies intact.’
    • ‘Your loved one's idiosyncrasies or imperfect traits become endearing reminders of their realness, humanness.’
    • ‘Because, despite all of the wallowing and hating I do, despite all my idiosyncrasies and neurotic behavior, my husband loves me.’
    • ‘Although it may just be an act, over the past forty years Woody Allen has developed a dramatic persona whose behavioral tropes and idiosyncrasies are as recognizable as those of a close personal friend.’
    • ‘Each character bubbles with traits, ticks and idiosyncrasies.’
    • ‘He is proof that autism is a spectrum disorder of huge diversity and that the individual idiosyncrasies of each child reveal the utter uselessness of the label.’
    • ‘Specific scenarios peculiar to her class, and the idiosyncrasies and traits of her students were referred to, thinly veiled.’
    • ‘When I tease Almond about saying in his autobiography that physical beauty was not about perfection, but lies in each individual's idiosyncrasies, and then later having cosmetic surgery on his nose, he laughs.’
    • ‘Any event like a wedding always has the little idiosyncrasies associated with family.’
    • ‘Their failure to satisfy a zealous and unsympathetic referee contributed to their downfall, whereas the home team's humouring of his idiosyncrasies meant that we only conceded two penalties before half time.’
    • ‘Having grown up together, they were all more or less used to each other's idiosyncrasies and fighting always made the day more interesting.’
    • ‘And, of course, every person who engages in these behaviors has their own unique idiosyncrasies of personality and behavior and history that contribute to why they did it.’
    • ‘People from every nation have their particular idiosyncrasies and St Lucians are no exception.’
    • ‘There may be no manager in baseball that does more to exploit the individual idiosyncrasies of his players in order to motivate his team and build clubhouse chemistry.’
    • ‘If I see a telling idiosyncrasy in his behavior, such as taking an extra waggle, clearing his throat or displaying trembling hands when he's teeing his ball, something is going on.’
    • ‘On Purim, we wear costumes and perform skits - mocking our hang-ups, idiosyncrasies, and worries.’
    • ‘Alma's sketches are described as spare accurate lines, perfectly capturing personalities through mannerisms and idiosyncrasies.’
    peculiarity, quirk, eccentricity, oddity, foible, whim, whimsy, caprice, vagary, twist, crotchet, mannerism, fad
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    1. 1.1 A distinctive or peculiar feature or characteristic of a place or thing.
      ‘the idiosyncrasies of the prison system’
      • ‘Should I do this or should I leave it as an idiosyncrasy of my blog?’
      • ‘As an experiment to harness the charm and the tiny idiosyncrasies that make the first few takes of a song so magical, Will to Death shows just the opposite.’
      • ‘Our greatest literary treasure's Talking Heads series captured this nation's idiosyncrasies with his affectionatedissection of human frailty.’
      • ‘But people do not have the opportunity to appreciate the value of Shanghai's idiosyncrasies and are perhaps beginning to find them obsolete as the atmosphere becomes increasingly cosmopolitan.’
      • ‘Each platform has its unique features and idiosyncrasies.’
      • ‘In fact, the idiosyncrasy of Tugu Park Hotel does not stop at Waroeng Shanghai either.’
      • ‘Thanks to the legendary idiosyncrasy of that computerised bureaucracy, it still shows the cover of the old edition, by which some readers have already been misled.’
      • ‘It is always heartening, as well, to see an English person's eyes opening to the charms and idiosyncrasies of a country which first-time visitors still sometimes assume is merely an extension of their own.’
      • ‘New building technologies, site idiosyncrasies, social factors, and the client's personality can combine to suggest a unique approach.’
      • ‘It is a deft sketch of significant features, images, and idiosyncrasies of time and place, but, like the characters that people it, is never a fully-fledged portrait.’
      • ‘An hour of his pieces for wind instruments is extremely rewarding, for he handles their characteristic timbres, idiosyncrasies and eccentricities most attractively.’
      • ‘When you strip away the idiosyncrasies of the movie business, it becomes that much clearer that the power of managers is delegated from above as a function of the rule of capital - and remains ultimately subordinate and dependent.’
      • ‘Most officers will assimilate that which is successful in mission accomplishment but balk at appeasing perceived idiosyncrasies of another nation.’
      • ‘The idiosyncrasy of the Miss World contest is that despite being a truly international competition, it has retained much of its Englishness.’
      • ‘Arena Ready is an album full of idiosyncrasies and references, but it's never a pastiche of other artists’ work.’
      • ‘With mainstream screenwriting, you're always making characters more audience-friendly, you're always ironing out all the idiosyncrasies.’
      • ‘Apart from showing off we bring this up to unearth a common idiosyncrasy of old Astons; the accelerator feels as though a runaway ball of socks has made their way under the pedal.’
      • ‘But while Hornby and Sweeney had family conflicts driving their books, Red Mist is a more curious and engaging piece of work, lit by flashes of sharp humour and wonderful idiosyncrasies.’
      • ‘In contrast to British music's narrow mindset, Jamaica has always embraced the most outlandish musical idiosyncrasies imaginable.’
      • ‘While ‘Snow Crash’ seemed to be a caricature of previous cyberpunk novels, in this novel Neal Stephenson succeeds in inventing a new future universe with special idiosyncrasies.’
      peculiarity, individual trait, personal trait, oddity, eccentricity, mannerism, quirk, whim, whimsy, fancy, fad, vagary, notion, conceit, caprice, kink, twist, freak, fetish, passion, bent, foible, crotchet, habit, characteristic, speciality, quality, feature
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  • 2Medicine
    An abnormal physical reaction by an individual to a food or drug.

    • ‘The title is ‘The diagnosis of aspirin idiosyncrasy by analgesic challenge’.’
    • ‘It was now also an allergic idiosyncrasy in which people became sensitized to inhaled, ingested, or absorbed ‘asthmogenic’ agents.’
    • ‘They suggested that allergy and food idiosyncrasy may coexist.’


Early 17th century (originally in the sense ‘physical constitution peculiar to an individual’): from Greek idiosunkrasia, from idios ‘own, private’ + sun ‘with’ + krasis ‘mixture’.