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From Middle French particularité (part of a whole; something particular, particularity) (modern French particularité), and from its etymon Late Latin particularitas (fact or quality of being particular; something particular, particularity), from Latin particulāris (particular; partial) + -tās (suffix forming feminine abstract nouns indicating a state of being).[1][2] Particulāris is derived from particula (particle, small part) (from pars (a part, piece, portion, share) (probably ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *per- (to sell; to go through; to carry forth, fare)) + -cula (diminutive suffix)) + -āris (suffix denoting a relationship, forming adjectives). The English word is analysable as particular +‎ -ity (suffix forming nouns from adjectives, referring to the properties, qualities, or states of what is denoted by the adjectives).



particularity (countable and uncountable, plural particularities)

  1. (countable)
    1. A particular thing.
      Synonym: (noun) particular
      • 1620 March 8 (Gregorian calendar), Robert Saunderson [i.e., Robert Sanderson], “The Second Sermon. At Grantham Linc[olnshire] 27. Febr. 1620.”, in Twelve Sermons, [], [new] edition, London: [] Aug[ustine] Math[ews], for Robert Dawlman, and are to be sold by Robert Allet, [], published 1632, →OCLC, §. 12, page 302:
        In this particularity vvhereof vve novv ſpeake, ſee hovv his Mercy and Truth are met together, and doe moſt lovingly embrace each other.
      • 1856, R[alph] W[aldo] Emerson, “Aristocracy”, in English Traits, Boston, Mass.: Phillips, Sampson, and Company, →OCLC, pages 187–188:
        [I]f they never hear plain truth from men, they see the best of every thing, in every kind, and they see things so grouped and amassed as to infer easily the sum and genius, instead of tedious particularities.
    2. A distinctive characteristic or quality; a peculiarity.
      Synonyms: differentia, discrimen
      Donny’s obsession for trains is just a harmless particularity of his.
    3. (obsolete) A particular case or matter.
  2. (uncountable)
    1. The condition of being particular rather than general or universal; specificity.
      Synonyms: particularness; see also Thesaurus:specificity
      Antonyms: see Thesaurus:genericity
      • 1647, Henry More, “[Philosophical Poems.] Psychathanasia or The Second Part of the Song of the Soul, Treating of the Immortality of Souls, Especially Mans Soul.”, in Alexander B[alloch] Grosart, editor, The Complete Poems of Dr. Henry More (1614–1687) [] (Chertsey Worthies’ Library), [Edinburgh: [] Edinburgh University Press; Thomas and Archibald Constable, []] for private circulation, published 1878, →OCLC, book II, canto 3, stanza 6, page 63, column 2:
        But true Religion sprung from God above / Is like her fountain full of charity, / [] / [F]ree, large, even infinite, / Not wedg'd in strait particularity, / But grasping all in her vast active spright, / Bright lamp of God! that men would joy in thy pure light!
      • 1725, Isaac Watts, “Of the Various Kinds of Propositions”, in Logick: Or, The Right Use of Reason in the Enquiry after Truth, [], 2nd edition, London: [] John Clark and Richard Hett, [], Emanuel Matthews, [], and Richard Ford, [], published 1726, →OCLC, part II (Of Judgment and Proposition), section I (Of Universal, Particular, Indefinite, and Singular Propositions), page 148:
        An indefinite Propoſition, is, vvhen no Note, either of Univerſality or Particularity, is prefixed to a Subject, vvhich is in its ovvn Nature general; as, a Planet is ever changing its Place: Angels are noble Creatures.
      1. (Christianity, theology) The doctrine of the incarnation of God as Jesus occurring at a particular place and time.
      2. (Christianity, Judaism, theology, obsolete) Synonym of particularism (the principle that only certain people are chosen by God for salvation)
    2. Attention to detail; fastidiousness.
      Synonym: scrupulousness
      • 1699, Gilbert, Bishop of Sarum [i.e., Gilbert Burnet], “Article II. Of the Word or Son of God, which was Made Very Man.”, in An Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England. [], 2nd edition, London: [] R[obert] Roberts, for Ri[chard] Chiswell, [], published 1700, →OCLC, page 53:
        There is no part of the Goſpel vvrit vvith ſo copious a Particularity, as the Hiſtory of his [Jesus's] Sufferings and Death; as there vvas indeed no part of the Goſpel ſo important as this is.
      • 1753 (indicated as 1754), [Samuel Richardson], “Letter VIII. Miss Byron, to Miss Selby.”, in The History of Sir Charles Grandison. [], 2nd edition, volume I, London: [] S[amuel] Richardson; [a]nd sold by C. Hitch and L. Hawes, [], →OCLC, page 36:
        Sir Rovvland himſelf, as you vvill gueſs by his particularity, is an old bachelor, and one vvho vvants to have a vvoman made on purpoſe for his nephevv; and vvho poſitively inſiſts upon qualities, before he knovvs her, not one of vvhich, perhaps, his future niece vvill have.
      • 1892, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lloyd Osbourne, “The Cabin of the ‘Flying Scud’”, in The Wrecker, London, Paris: Cassell & Company, [], →OCLC, page 218:
        I must not be expected to describe our first day's work, or (for that matter) any of the rest, in order and detail as it occurred. Such particularity might have been possible for several officers and a draft of men from a ship of war, accompanied by an experienced secretary with a knowledge of shorthand.
    3. (obsolete)
      1. The condition of being special; peculiarity, specialness.
        Synonym: distinction
        • 1711 August 24 (Gregorian calendar), [Richard Steele], “MONDAY, August 13, 1711”, in The Spectator, number 142; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition, [], volume II, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton & Company, 1853, →OCLC, page 245:
          To pass my evenings in so sweet a conversation, and have the esteem of a woman of your merit, has in it a particularity of happiness no more to be expressed than returned.
      2. The condition of being special in an unexpected way; oddness, strangeness; (countable) an instance of this.
        Synonyms: oddity, singularity
        • 1712 August 3 (Gregorian calendar), [Richard Steele], “WEDNESDAY, July 23, 1712”, in The Spectator, number 438; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition, [], volume V, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton & Company, 1853, →OCLC, page 162:
          No man ought to be tolerated in a habitual humour, whim, or particularity of behaviour, by any who do not wait upon him for bread.
        • 1753 (indicated as 1754), [Samuel Richardson], “Letter LIV. Lady G[randison]. In Continuation.”, in The History of Sir Charles Grandison. [], volume V, London: [] S[amuel] Richardson; [a]nd sold by C. Hitch and L. Hawes, [], →OCLC, page 333:
          Lucy looks at her uncle as if ſhe could hardly excuſe his particularities; but Mrs. Shirley has alvvays ſomething to ſay for him.
        • 1791, James Boswell, “[1764]”, in The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. [], volume I, London: [] Henry Baldwin, for Charles Dilly, [], →OCLC, page 264:
          He had another particuliarity, of vvhich none of his friends ever ventured to aſk an explanation. It appeared to me ſome ſuperſtitious habit, vvhich he had contracted early, and from vvhich he had never called upon his reaſon to diſ-entangle him. This vvas his anxious care to go out or in at a door or paſſage, by a certain number of ſteps from a certain point, []
      3. The paying of particular close attention to someone; (countable) an instance of this.
        • 1709 August 8 (Gregorian calendar), Isaac Bickerstaff [et al., pseudonyms; Richard Steele], “Thursday, July 28, 1709”, in The Tatler, number 47; republished in [Richard Steele], editor, The Tatler, [], London stereotype edition, volume I, London: I. Walker and Co.;  [], 1822, →OCLC, page 285:
          Whenever they met, they talked to each other aloud, chose each other partner at balls, saluted at the most conspicuous parts of the service of the church, and practised, in honour of each other, all the remarkable particularities which are usual for persons who admire one another, and are contemptible to the rest of the world.
        • 1815 December (indicated as 1816), [Jane Austen], chapter XIV, in Emma: [], volume III, London: [] [Charles Roworth and James Moyes] for John Murray, →OCLC, page 268:
          While I, to blind the world to our engagement, was behaving one hour with objectionable particularity to another woman, was she to be consenting the next to a proposal which might have made every previous caution useless?

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  1. ^ particularity, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2022.
  2. ^ particularity, n.”, in Unabridged,, LLC, 1995–present, reproduced from Stuart Berg Flexner, editor in chief, Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2nd edition, New York, N.Y.: Random House, 1993, →ISBN.