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Meaning of characteristic

char•ac•ter•is•tic

Pronunciation: (kar"ik-tu-ris'tik), [key]
— adj.
  1. 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.
—n.
  1. a distinguishing feature or quality: Generosity is his chief characteristic.
    1. the integral part of a common logarithm. Cf. mantissa.
    2. the exponent of 10 in a number expressed in scientific notation.
    3. the smallest positive integer n such that each element of a given ring added to itself n times results in 0.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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