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From Latin peculiaris (one's own), from Latin peculium (private property), from Latin pecus (cattle).[1]



peculiar (comparative more peculiar, superlative most peculiar)

  1. Out of the ordinary; odd; curious; unusual.
    The sky had a peculiar appearance before the storm.
    It would be rather peculiar to see a kangaroo hopping down a city street.
    • 1800, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Deseret Weekly, Volume 41, page 379,
      I saw nothing peculiar in his conduct, and thought that his arrangement of the ballot box was perfect.
    • 2001, Jack Schaefer, Wendell Minor, Shane,
      "Wasn't it peculiar," I heard mother say, "How he wouldn't talk about himself?"
      "Peculiar?" said father. "Well, yes, in a way."
      "Everything about him is peculiar." Mother sounded as if she was stirred up and interested. "I never saw a man quite like him before."
    • 2008, Stephen Arnott, Peculiar Proverbs: Weird Words of Wisdom from Around the World.
  2. Common or usual for a certain place or circumstance; specific or particular.
    Kangaroos are peculiar to Australia.
    • 1855, Immanuel Kant, John Miller Dow Meiklejohn (translator), Critique of Pure Reason, Volume 1, Division 2, per 1781, Immanuel Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft,
      This philosopher found his ideas especially in all that is practical,[29] that is, which rests upon freedom, which in its turn ranks under cognitions that are the peculiar product of reason.
    • 1863, Thomas Huxley, Collected Essays:
      As soon as that operation has taken place, the food is passed down to the stomach, and there it is mixed with the chemical fluid called the gastric juice, a substance which has the peculiar property of making soluble and dissolving out the nutritious matter in the grass, and leaving behind those parts which are not nutritious;
    • 1895, Alfred Russel Wallace, Island Life, XX: Anomalous Islands: Celebes,
      But of late years extensive Tertiary deposits of Miocene age have been discovered, showing that it is not a mere congeries of volcanoes; it [Iceland] is connected with the British Islands and with Greenland by seas less than 500 fathoms deep; and it possesses a few mammalia, one of which is peculiar, and at least three peculiar species of birds.
  3. (dated) One's own; belonging solely or especially to an individual; not shared or possessed by others.
    • Bible, Titus ii. 14
      And purify unto himself a peculiar people.
    • Hooker
      hymns [] that Christianity hath peculiar unto itself
  4. (dated) Particular; individual; special; appropriate.
    • Milton
      while each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat
    • Dryden
      My fate is Juno's most peculiar care.



Derived terms[edit]


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See also[edit]


peculiar (plural peculiars)

  1. That which is peculiar; a sole or exclusive property; a prerogative; a characteristic.
    • before 1716, Robert South, Twelve Sermons
      If anything can legalize revenge, it should be injury from an extremely obliged person; but revenge is so absolutely the peculiar of heaven.
  2. (Britain, canon law) an ecclesiastical district, parish, chapel or church outside the jurisdiction of the bishop of the diocese in which it is situated.


  1. ^ Funk, W. J., Word origins and their romantic stories, New York, Wilfred Funk, Inc.




peculiar (masculine and feminine plural peculiars)

  1. peculiar



peculiar m, f (plural peculiares, comparable)

  1. peculiar; unusual; strange
  2. peculiar (common or usual for a particular place or circumstance)




peculiar (plural peculiares)

  1. peculiar