Definition of trait in English:


Pronunciation: /treɪ//treɪt/


  • 1A distinguishing quality or characteristic, typically one belonging to a person.

    ‘the traditionally British trait of self-denigration’
    • ‘Also, at least in maturity, people seem to have relatively stable character traits.’
    • ‘Absorption is a personality trait associated with fantasy proneness, vivid imagery and so forth.’
    • ‘It may seem facile, but teams do reflect the traits and characteristics of their coaches.’
    • ‘This is not a common trait in oncologists, or other doctors who deal with death on a daily basis.’
    • ‘It could take you years to really know a city, but you can pick up on its character traits in about an hour.’
    • ‘Humility is the finest of all virtues and is the source of all admirable character traits.’
    • ‘The distinction being that personality traits dictate how people use and abuse drugs.’
    • ‘There were no differences between groups in their self-reported worry and trait anxiety.’
    • ‘Insomnia is also a common trait of anyone who uses computers for more than a few hours a day.’
    • ‘Completely inhabiting his character's traits and quirks, he is tailor made for the role.’
    • ‘But they all share a common trait - frustration at the obstacles put in the way of progress.’
    • ‘A recognised trait among gamblers is that you are likely to spend more when you are not physically handing over money.’
    • ‘In talking with the many men, she had come to distinguish similar traits in all of them.’
    • ‘It must be common trait among women, being better at cooking once you're married.’
    • ‘A character trait shared by many program managers is a belief they will complete their project on schedule within budget.’
    • ‘There will always be some distinct personality trait that will set them apart from one another.’
    • ‘He re-read his father's autobiography and realised they shared many character traits.’
    • ‘Lying is one of the most human of traits that really distinguishes us from the rest of the animal world.’
    • ‘The F, or femininity, scale measures socially desirable personality traits perceived to be stereotypically characteristic of women.’
    • ‘One of her brother's more admirable personality traits was his general lack of prejudice.’
    characteristic, attribute, feature, quality, essential quality, property, distinction, idiosyncrasy, peculiarity, quirk, foible, singularity, oddity, eccentricity, abnormality, mark, trademark, hallmark, earmark
    mannerism, way, trick, habit, custom, tendency
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A genetically determined characteristic.
      ‘breeders were installing some trait that allowed the crop to thrive’
      • ‘Most of her seeds are chosen because of the parents' hardy traits, so the genetic base of the garden is superb.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, dispersal can interact with other traits in determining plant fitness.’
      • ‘They have lived on, the recessive traits in our genetic coding, and they have emerged in us.’
      • ‘To be honest it's an eye opener, and the definite implication is that we can't help acting upon our genetic traits.’
      • ‘Here we identify three reproductive strategies of adult male grackles and the phenotypic traits associated with each strategy.’
      • ‘These parameters could be considered as quantitative traits and characterize a genotype.’
      • ‘The people who emerged from this genetic bottleneck had traits never before seen in human beings.’
      • ‘Body mass is one of the most common sexually selected male traits among animal taxa.’
      • ‘The most common traits created in GM crops are herbicide tolerance or insect resistance.’
      • ‘Studies of genetic variation of morphological traits in natural populations of mammals are essential to understanding their evolution.’
      • ‘Repeatability of evolution of quantitative traits is influenced by the genetic substrate for selection and genetic correlations among traits.’
      • ‘In fact IQ is a great example of a trait that is highly heritable but not genetically determined.’
      • ‘In the latter case, the male and female traits may drift along the line of equilibria.’
      • ‘This suggests that these traits are genetically controlled depending on the growth stages of leaves.’
      • ‘Furthermore, by inbreeding his livestock he fixed and exaggerated those traits he felt to be desirable.’
      • ‘The relationships between the genetic variability of complex agronomic traits and traits for these two enzymes are discussed.’
      • ‘They say the teachers were simply trying to teach genetics and family traits.’
      • ‘An underlying factor may be any measurable value, continuous or discrete, that influences the phenotypic traits of interest.’
      • ‘For example, a child may inherit certain traits from his parents such as height.’


Mid 16th century: from French, from Latin tractus drawing, draught (see tract). An early sense was ‘stroke of the pen or pencil in a picture’, giving rise to the sense ‘a particular feature of mind or character’ (mid 18th century).