Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


[treyt; British also trey] /treɪt; British also treɪ/
a distinguishing characteristic or quality, especially of one's personal nature:
bad traits of character.
a pen or pencil stroke.
a stroke, touch, or strain, as of some quality:
a trait of pathos; a trait of ready wit.
Origin of trait
1470-80; < Middle French: literally, something drawn < Latin tractus. See tract1
1. peculiarity, mark, attribute, property. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for trait
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then the only trait left to be accounted for is the fine musical ear.

    Not Guilty Robert Blatchford
  • Yes, Horace has represented him, trait for trait, in the person of Lollius.

    Samuel Brohl & Company Victor Cherbuliez
  • For the first season some one trait should be chosen for study,—say self-control or courage or consideration of others.

    Concerning Children Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • His essay on the Impeachment of Warren Hastings shows this trait.

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 10 Charles Herbert Sylvester
  • The second trait which is fully explained only by Hamlet's melancholy is his own inability to understand why he delays.

    Shakespearean Tragedy A. C. Bradley
British Dictionary definitions for trait


/treɪt; treɪ/
a characteristic feature or quality distinguishing a particular person or thing
(rare) a touch or stroke
Word Origin
C16: from French, from Old French: a pulling, from Latin tractus, from trahere to drag
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 trait

late 15c., "shot, missiles;" later "a stroke, short line" (1580s), from Middle French trait, from Latin tractus "draft, drawing, drawing out," later "line drawn, feature," from past participle stem of trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)). Sense of "particular feature, distinguishing quality" is first recorded 1752, from meaning "line, streak, feature" (1560s), which is common to English, French, and Latin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
trait in Medicine

trait (trāt)
A characteristic, especially one that distinguishes an individual from others.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
trait in Science
A genetically determined characteristic or condition. Traits may be physical, such as hair color or leaf shape, or they may be behavioral, such as nesting in birds and burrowing in rodents. Traits typically result from the combined action of several genes, though some traits are expressed by a single gene.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for trait

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for trait

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for trait