Definition of idiosyncrasy in English:



usually idiosyncrasies
  • 1A mode of behavior or way of thought peculiar to an individual.

    ‘one of his little idiosyncrasies was always preferring to be in the car first’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One footballer is seen as much like another, their idiosyncrasies, their individual character submerged beneath the mass marketing tools.’
    • ‘Your loved one's idiosyncrasies or imperfect traits become endearing reminders of their realness, humanness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Alma's sketches are described as spare accurate lines, perfectly capturing personalities through mannerisms 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.’
    • ‘Because, despite all of the wallowing and hating I do, despite all my idiosyncrasies and neurotic behavior, my husband loves me.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On Purim, we wear costumes and perform skits - mocking our hang-ups, idiosyncrasies, and worries.’
    • ‘Try mocking your hang-ups and idiosyncrasies.’
    • ‘This is as close as possible to a guarantee against party political abuse, and it minimises the impact of individual idiosyncrasies.’
    • ‘People from every nation have their particular idiosyncrasies and St Lucians are no exception.’
    • ‘Having grown up together, they were all more or less used to each other's idiosyncrasies and fighting always made the day more interesting.’
    • ‘Each character bubbles with traits, ticks and idiosyncrasies.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Specific scenarios peculiar to her class, and the idiosyncrasies and traits of her students were referred to, thinly veiled.’
    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’
      • ‘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 fact, the idiosyncrasy of Tugu Park Hotel does not stop at Waroeng Shanghai either.’
      • ‘Most officers will assimilate that which is successful in mission accomplishment but balk at appeasing perceived idiosyncrasies of another nation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Our greatest literary treasure's Talking Heads series captured this nation's idiosyncrasies with his affectionatedissection of human frailty.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In contrast to British music's narrow mindset, Jamaica has always embraced the most outlandish musical idiosyncrasies imaginable.’
      • ‘An hour of his pieces for wind instruments is extremely rewarding, for he handles their characteristic timbres, idiosyncrasies and eccentricities most attractively.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Should I do this or should I leave it as an idiosyncrasy of my blog?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Arena Ready is an album full of idiosyncrasies and references, but it's never a pastiche of other artists’ work.’
      • ‘Each platform has its unique features and idiosyncrasies.’
      • ‘With mainstream screenwriting, you're always making characters more audience-friendly, you're always ironing out all the idiosyncrasies.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The idiosyncrasy of the Miss World contest is that despite being a truly international competition, it has retained much of its Englishness.’
      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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    2. 1.2Medicine 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’.