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[id-ee-uh-sing-kruh-see, -sin-]
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noun, plural id·i·o·syn·cra·sies.
  1. a characteristic, habit, mannerism, or the like, that is peculiar to an individual.
  2. the physical constitution peculiar to an individual.
  3. a peculiarity of the physical or the mental constitution, especially susceptibility toward drugs, food, etc.Compare allergy(def 1).
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Also idiocrasy.

Origin of idiosyncrasy

1595–1605; < Greek idiosynkrāsía, equivalent to idio- idio- + syn- syn- + krâs(is) a blending + -ia -y3
Related formsid·i·o·syn·crat·ic [id-ee-oh-sin-krat-ik, -sing-] /ˌɪd i oʊ sɪnˈkræt ɪk, -sɪŋ-/, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for idiosyncrasies


noun plural -sies
  1. a tendency, type of behaviour, mannerism, etc, of a specific person; quirk
  2. the composite physical or psychological make-up of a specific person
  3. an abnormal reaction of an individual to specific foods, drugs, or other agents
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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

Word Origin and History for idiosyncrasies



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

idiosyncrasies in Medicine


  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.
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Related formsid′i•o•syn•cratic (-sĭn-krătĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.