One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A parameter of a uniform transmission line of indefinite length, equal to the ratio of the voltage to the amplitude of a single wave travelling along it; (equivalently) the impedance which when terminating an arbitrary length of line at its output will give rise to an input impedance of the same value; symbol Z0.
Early 20th century. From characteristic + impedance.
characteristic impedance/ˌkarɪktəˌrɪstɪk ɪmˈpiːdns/
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