Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “an idiosyncratic method”
2. After a linking verb, as in “Their method was idiosyncratic.”)
The word "idiosyncrasy" has Greek bits that literally mean "a mixing together of one's own (characteristics)." It came through French into English, where it means pretty much the same thing: "an odd little way that some specific person does things."
So, something idiosyncratic is a bit weird or unusual, like the strange little habits that a specific person has.
idiosyncrasy, idiosyncrasies, idiosyncratically
How to use it:
Talk about an idiosyncratic approach (the odd way that a certain person does something), his idiosyncratic imagination, her idiosyncratic interpretation, his idiosyncratic taste, an idiosyncratic phrase, and so on.
If you find yourself saying "idiosyncratic habit" or "idiosyncratic behavior," try just saying "idiosyncrasy" instead. It's more concise.
The giant stuffed bull's head mounted on the wall was disturbing at first, but I grew to accept it as part of the restaurant's idiosyncratic decor.
Holding a complex, one-sided conversation with your pet is not as idiosyncratic as you might think. I know several otherwise sane people who do this.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You'll know you understand what "idiosyncratic" means when you can explain it without saying "individual" or "strange."
Think of something unusual that you are really passionate about, and fill in the blanks: “My idiosyncratic love of _____ started when _____.”
Example: “My idiosyncratic love of wildly growing ivy started when a profusion of those heart-shaped leaves appeared along our backyard fence, mysteriously, which for a little while made me (a totally grown-up and rational lady) believe in fairies.”
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don't go straight to the review now; let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game is "Guess the real pop song title when I give you a long-winded, highfalutin version of it." All the answers this month will be titles of popular songs released no earlier than 2012. Try it out each day and see the right answer the next day. We're playing this in order to appreciate the simple, precise vocabulary of pop song titles, despite how often they are criticized for being sappy, trite, and simplistic.
Yesterday’s answer: “I Ascertained That You Would Wreak Havoc and Cause Distress” is really “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift.
Try this one today: “The Period of Time in Which I Was Considered Your Romantic Property”
A Point Well Made:
Church sign: “You may be the only Bible someone reads.”
1. The opposite of IDIOSYNCRATIC is
2. Scroll through Facebook to enjoy a kaleidoscope of idiosyncrasies, like _____.
A. a picture of your best friend's adorable baby boy.
B. an outpouring of cheers related to a football game currently going on.
C. the oddball observations of your smartest friend.
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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