Also char·ac·ter·is·ti·cal.pertaining to, constituting, or indicating the character or peculiar quality of a person or thing; typical; distinctive: Red and gold are the characteristic colors of autumn.

noun

a distinguishing feature or quality: Generosity is his chief characteristic.

Mathematics.

the integral part of a common logarithm.Compare mantissa.

the exponent of 10 in a number expressed in scientific notation.

the smallest positive integer n such that each element of a given ring added to itself n times results in 0.

Origin of characteristic

From the Greek word charaktēristikós, dating back to 1655–65. See character, -istic

Related formschar·ac·ter·is·ti·cal·ly, adverbnon·char·ac·ter·is·tic, adjectivenon·char·ac·ter·is·ti·cal·ly, adverbqua·si-char·ac·ter·is·tic, adjectivequa·si-char·ac·ter·is·ti·cal·ly, adverbun·char·ac·ter·is·tic, adjectiveun·char·ac·ter·is·ti·cal·ly, adverb

1753, from un- (1) "not" + characteristic (adj.). Related: Uncharacteristically.

characteristic

adjective and noun both first attested 1660s, from character + -istic on model of Greek kharakteristikos. Earlier in the adjectival sense was characteristical (1620s). Related: Characteristically (1640s). Characteristics "distinctive traits" also attested from 1660s.

The part of a logarithm to the base 10 that is to the left of the decimal point. For example, if 2.749 is a logarithm, 2 is the characteristic. Compare mantissa.