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[id-ee-uh-sing-kruh-see, -sin-] /ˌɪd i əˈsɪŋ krə si, -ˈsɪn-/
noun, plural idiosyncrasies.
a characteristic, habit, mannerism, or the like, that is peculiar to an individual.
the physical constitution peculiar to an individual.
a peculiarity of the physical or the mental constitution, especially susceptibility toward drugs, food, etc.
Compare allergy (def 1).
Also, idiocrasy.
Origin of idiosyncrasy
1595-1605; < Greek idiosynkrāsía, equivalent to idio- idio- + syn- syn- + krâs(is) a blending + -ia -y3
Related forms
[id-ee-oh-sin-krat-ik, -sing-] /ˌɪd i oʊ sɪnˈkræt ɪk, -sɪŋ-/ (Show IPA),
1. peculiarity, quirk. See eccentricity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for idiosyncrasy
Historical Examples
  • The English idiosyncrasy is in that awful external slovenliness too, causing it, and being caused by it.

    The Author's Craft Arnold Bennett
  • He had most of the idiosyncrasy of Baxter, though not without the contemplation of Howe.

    Spare Hours John Brown
  • At the end of that time my friends had grown accustomed to this idiosyncrasy and were making bets on how long I would last.

    Cutting It out Samuel G. Blythe
  • The only success worth one's powder was success in the line of one's idiosyncrasy.

    Embarrassments Henry James
  • I for my part seek such exercises as suit my idiosyncrasy, and if they are not to your taste I cannot help it.

    The Sisters, Complete Georg Ebers
  • His idiosyncrasy is merged in that of the personages he represents.

    Rookwood William Harrison Ainsworth
  • "Merely an idiosyncrasy of mine," answered Von Stein, showing his teeth.

  • Long and often did Lorna puzzle over this idiosyncrasy of her father.

  • It would come more appropriately at a later part of the chapter, but its occurrence here is characteristic of Paul's idiosyncrasy.

  • The cruelty of boys is an idiosyncrasy in their otherwise generous character.

    Captain Mugford W.H.G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for idiosyncrasy


noun (pl) -sies
a tendency, type of behaviour, mannerism, etc, of a specific person; quirk
the composite physical or psychological make-up of a specific person
an abnormal reaction of an individual to specific foods, drugs, or other agents
Word Origin
C17: from Greek idiosunkrasia, from idio- + sunkrasis mixture, temperament, from sun-syn- + kerannunai to mingle
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
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Word Origin and History for idiosyncrasy

c.1600, from French idiosyncrasie, from Greek idiosynkrasia "a peculiar temperament," from idios "one's own" (see idiom) + synkrasis "temperament, mixture of personal characteristics," from syn "together" (see syn-) + krasis "mixture" (see rare (adj.2)). Originally in English a medical term meaning "physical constitution of an individual." Mental sense first attested 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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idiosyncrasy in Medicine

idiosyncrasy id·i·o·syn·cra·sy (ĭd'ē-ō-sĭng'krə-sē)

  1. A structural or behavioral trait peculiar to an individual or a group.

  2. A physiological or temperamental peculiarity.

  3. An unusual individual reaction to food or a drug.

id'i·o·syn·crat'ic (-sĭn-krāt'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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