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trait

[treyt; British also trey]
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noun
  1. a distinguishing characteristic or quality, especially of one's personal nature: bad traits of character.
  2. a pen or pencil stroke.
  3. a stroke, touch, or strain, as of some quality: a trait of pathos; a trait of ready wit.
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Origin of trait

1470–80; < Middle French: literally, something drawn < Latin tractus. See tract1

Synonyms

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1. peculiarity, mark, attribute, property.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for trait

trait

noun
  1. a characteristic feature or quality distinguishing a particular person or thing
  2. rare a touch or stroke
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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

Word Origin and History for trait

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

trait in Medicine

trait

(trāt)
n.
  1. A genetically determined structure, attribute, or function.
  2. A distinct pattern of behavior.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

trait in Science

trait

[trāt]
  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.