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Idiosyncrasy   /ɪdioʊsˈɪnkrəsˌi/   Listen

(pl. idiosyncrasies)
A behavioral attribute that is distinctive and peculiar to an individual.  Synonyms: foible, mannerism.

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"Idiosyncrasy" Quotes from Famous Books

... do—that we could do something to help. He was roused at last by the intrusion of a bird into his domain, and his discomfiture of this foe seemed to dispel his unhappy state of mind, for he at once broke out in joyous song, to our great relief. That was not the last exhibition of the wren's idiosyncrasy; he repeated it day after day, and finally he went so far as to interpolate low "dear-r-r's" into his sweetest songs. Perhaps that was his conception of his duty as protector to the family; if so, he was certainly faithful in doing it. It was ludicrously ...
— A Bird-Lover in the West • Olive Thorne Miller

... alchemy—working backwards, as it were—to produce this latter result. Besides these two alternatives (that she suffered tortures in silence and that she was so much in love that her husband's humiliating idiosyncrasy seemed to her only an added richness—a proof of life and talent), there was still the possibility that she had not found him out, that she took his false pieces at his own valuation. A little reflection rendered this hypothesis untenable; it was too evident that the account he gave of things must ...
— A London Life; The Patagonia; The Liar; Mrs. Temperly • Henry James

... It is impossible to lay down hard and fast rules; it is impossible to make so many jam-pots of even young humanity, to be tied up and labelled and arranged upon the same shelf. Each individuality has to be dealt with in all its mysterious idiosyncrasy. One boy may be so reserved that it is better to write to him than to talk face to face; another may find the greatest possible strength and comfort in freedom of speech and the feeling that there is no ...
— The Power of Womanhood, or Mothers and Sons - A Book For Parents, And Those In Loco Parentis • Ellice Hopkins

... "Merely an idiosyncrasy of mine," answered Von Stein, showing his teeth. "Before anything is done I must, in order to aid the receptivity of your mind, go a little further with the explanation of certain things which I mentioned the other day. ...
— Astounding Stories of Super-Science, November, 1930 • Various

... Convent, which three hundred years ago ensconsed itself within the ruinous Baths of Diocletian. I have no fable at hand to explain what seems the special preference of the birds for this garden; it is possibly an idiosyncrasy, something like that of the cats which make Trajan's Forum their favorite resort. All that I can positively say is that if I were a bird I would ask nothing better than to frequent the cypresses of that garden and tune my numbers for the entertainment of the audience of extraordinary monsters ...
— Roman Holidays and Others • W. D. Howells

... as to the truth of a particular form of Theology, is another. With scientific Theology, Agnosticism has no quarrel. On the contrary, the Agnostic, knowing too well the influence of prejudice and idiosyncrasy, even on those who desire most earnestly to be impartial, can wish for nothing more urgently than that the scientific theologian should not only be at perfect liberty to thresh out the matter in his ...
— Lectures and Essays • Thomas Henry Huxley

... frost and snow as pupae, bursting their cerements in the sunshine, to live their brief life and perpetuate their race; others eke out a half dormant existence as minute larvae, others pass the winter in the egg state. In fact, each species has its idiosyncrasy. [Footnote: Here, perhaps, I may explode that myth and "enormous gooseberry" of the mild winter or early spring, headed in the newspaper every year as "Extraordinary Mildness of the Season": "We are credibly informed that, owing to the mildness of the past week, Mr. William Smith, ...
— Practical Taxidermy • Montagu Browne

... distinguish the lodging-letter of the metropolis. Obliged to practise extreme economy, he could not take refuge among self-respecting people, or at all events had no luck in endeavouring to find such among the poorer working-class. To a man of Godwin's idiosyncrasy the London poor were of necessity abominable, and it anguished him to be forced to ...
— Born in Exile • George Gissing

... impulses, inexplicable pains and diseases. And not only have we to remember that we are dealing with disharmonies that may at the very best be only patched together, but we are dealing with matters in which the element of idiosyncrasy is essential, insisting upon an incalculable flexibility in any rule we make, unless we are to take types and indeed whole classes of personality and write them down as absolutely bad and fit only for suppression and restraint. And on the mental ...
— First and Last Things • H. G. Wells

... reveal a considerable amount of individuality. The interpretation of the rule was elastic enough to give scope to much diversity of opinion, and if superiors were jealous guardians of the Institute, they encountered sufficient idiosyncrasy among their subjects to prevent any rigidity ...
— Studies from Court and Cloister • J.M. Stone

... climate tend to hasten the occurrence of this change, as habits, temperament, constitutional tendency, education, and idiosyncrasy. ...
— Plain Facts for Old and Young • John Harvey Kellogg

... lectureships, and demonstratorships. These are usually open to women in practice as well as in theory, though much depends on the personal idiosyncrasy of the head of the department, and on the importance of the post and the salary offered. But since it is, unhappily, often easy to secure an able woman for the same stipend as that which must be offered to an inexperienced man, fresh from college, difficulties are not, as a rule, placed in the ...
— Women Workers in Seven Professions • Edith J. Morley

... personal idiosyncrasy of the damsel is the want of a finger, or some deformity in it, the result of her previous efforts to aid the hero. Thus, in a Basque tale the lad is set to find a ring lost by the ogre in a river. This is accomplished by cutting up the maiden and ...
— The Science of Fairy Tales - An Inquiry into Fairy Mythology • Edwin Sidney Hartland

... Venice," is worthy of all admiration for the profound insight with which he has discriminated between that form of it which all men comprehend, and can sympathize with, and that which, being really nothing but diseased idiosyncrasy, appears to the majority of healthy minds ...
— Records of a Girlhood • Frances Anne Kemble

Words linked to "Idiosyncrasy" :   speciality, specialness, distinctiveness, foible, idiosyncratic, specialty, mannerism, peculiarity

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