May 01, 2013
- What does it mean?
- : a way of behaving or thinking that is characteristic of a person
- How do you use it?
- "When you know someone a long time, you become accustomed to their idiosyncrasies, which is a fancy word for their unique habits." (Lemony Snicket, _The Ersatz Elevator_)
- Are you a word wiz?
Which language do you think "idiosyncrasy" comes from?If it's characteristic of you to chose the right answer, you should have chosen answer A. We trace "idiosyncrasy" to the Greek word "idiosynkrasia." The Greeks formed that word by combining the root words "idio-," meaning "one's own, private," and "synkerannynai" meaning "to blend." The origins of "synkerannynai" in turn trace to "syn-" meaning "with, together with" and "kerannynai" meaning "to mingle, mix." When "idiosyncrasy" was first used in English in the early 1600s it referred to a particular physical makeup of an individual, but now refers to a person's personality or views.