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redeeming feature

A good quality or aspect that makes up for other drawbacks, as in The house isn't very attractive, but the garden is the redeeming feature. This idiom, first recorded in 1827, uses redeem in the sense of “compensate.”

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.