Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[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. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for idiosyncrasy
Historical Examples
  • The Night (it must have been her idiosyncrasy) put her tongue out at them, too.

    The Arrow of Gold Joseph Conrad
  • He did not even try to investigate this idiosyncrasy of his chief.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
  • This idiosyncrasy his companion, de Spain, had learned to tolerate.

    Nan of Music Mountain Frank H. Spearman
  • It was an idiosyncrasy of Jackson's to gather and take with him every filing.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • Long and often did Lorna puzzle over this idiosyncrasy of her father.

  • The club had always respected this idiosyncrasy of Mrs. Plinth's.

    Xingu Edith Wharton
  • He had most of the idiosyncrasy of Baxter, though not without the contemplation of Howe.

    Spare Hours John Brown
  • The only success worth one's powder was success in the line of one's idiosyncrasy.

    Embarrassments Henry James
  • His idiosyncrasy is merged in that of the personages he represents.

    Rookwood William Harrison Ainsworth
  • 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
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source
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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for idiosyncrasy

Word Value for idiosyncrasy

Scrabble Words With Friends