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hallmark

[hawl-mahrk]
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noun
  1. an official mark or stamp indicating a standard of purity, used in marking gold and silver articles assayed by the Goldsmiths' Company of London; plate mark.
  2. any mark or special indication of genuineness, good quality, etc.
  3. any distinguishing feature or characteristic: Accuracy is a hallmark of good scholarship.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to stamp or imprint (something) with a hallmark.
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Origin of hallmark

1715–25; Goldsmiths' Hall, London, the seat of the Goldsmiths' Company + mark1
Related formshall·mark·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hallmark

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • You're jokers, and all that, but you're sterling, with the hallmark on.

    Following the Equator, Complete

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • Fourth, maintaining a professional distance was a hallmark of professionalism.

  • Only the identity of the maker is revealed by the hallmark on American silver.

  • This tendency to detail, which is the hallmark of realism, constitutes decline.

    Heart of Man

    George Edward Woodberry

  • What (p. 310)they meant was that it was unconventional, was without the dignity of tradition to give it its hallmark.


British Dictionary definitions for hallmark

hallmark

noun
  1. British an official series of marks, instituted by statute in 1300, and subsequently modified, stamped by the Guild of Goldsmiths at one of its assay offices on gold, silver, or platinum (since 1975) articles to guarantee purity, date of manufacture, etc
  2. a mark or sign of authenticity or excellence
  3. an outstanding or distinguishing feature
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verb
  1. (tr) to stamp with or as if with a hallmark
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Also (for senses 1, 4): platemark

Word Origin

C18: named after Goldsmiths' Hall in London, where items were graded and stamped
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hallmark

n.

1721, official stamp of purity in gold and silver articles, from Goldsmiths' Hall in London, site of the assay office; see hall + mark (n.1). General sense of "mark of quality" first recorded 1864. As a verb from 1773.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper