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distinctive feature

noun, Linguistics.
a feature of the sound system of a language that serves as the crucial distinguishing mark between two phonemes, as the distinctive feature of voicing, which distinguishes b from p in English, or nasality, which distinguishes m from b and p.
any of a set of phonetic properties, as coronal, nasal, or strident, serving as a basic unit of phonological analysis by which the sounds that are significant in a language can be characterized and distinguished from one another.
a component or phonetic feature characterizing a phoneme.
Origin of distinctive feature
First recorded in 1925-30 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for distinctive feature
Historical Examples
  • The distinctive feature of a Muhammadan fast is, that it is a fast during the day only.

    The Faith of Islam Edward Sell
  • His most distinctive feature is his temperamental opportunism.

    Theft Jack London
  • The old refectory of the monks is the most distinctive feature of the present house.

    The Cornish Riviera Sidney Heath
  • He did not, however, make his distinctive feature as distinct as he should have done.

    Luck or Cunning Samuel Butler
  • But the distinctive feature of his character, was the total absence of selfishness.

    Self-control Mary Brunton
  • A distinctive feature is the incomplete annulus of the sporangium.

    How to Know the Ferns S. Leonard Bastin
  • The salons of Paris form a distinctive feature of French society.

  • The Balmoral demonstration had, however, one distinctive feature.

    Ulster's Stand For Union

    Ronald McNeill
  • A distinctive feature of the work is the absence of Wagnerian influence.

    The Opera R.A. Streatfeild
  • No other nations possess this remarkable and distinctive feature.

    Cecil Rhodes

    Princess Catherine Radziwill

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