Hypertext Webster Gateway: "characteristic"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

3. A table for facilitating reference to topics, names, and
the like, in a book; -- usually alphabetical in
arrangement, and printed at the end of the volume.

4. A prologue indicating what follows. [Obs.] --Shak.

5. (Anat.) The second digit, that next pollex, in the manus,
or hand; the forefinger; index finger.

6. (Math.) The figure or letter which shows the power or root
of a quantity; the exponent. [In this sense the plural is
always {indices}.]

{Index error}, the error in the reading of a mathematical
instrument arising from the zero of the index not being in
complete adjustment with that of the limb, or with its
theoretically perfect position in the instrument; a
correction to be applied to the instrument readings equal
to the error of the zero adjustment.

{Index expurgatorius}. [L.] See {Index prohibitorius}

{Index finger}. See {Index}, 5.

{Index glass}, the mirror on the index of a quadrant,
sextant, etc.

{Index hand}, the pointer or hand of a clock, watch, or other
registering machine; a hand that points to something.

{Index of a logarithm} (Math.), the integral part of the
logarithm, and always one less than the number of integral
figures in the given number. It is also called the

{Index of refraction}, or {Refractive index} (Opt.), the
number which expresses the ratio of the sine of the angle
of incidence to the sine of the angle of refraction. Thus
the index of refraction for sulphur is 2, because, when
light passes out of air into sulphur, the sine of the
angle of incidence is double the sine of the angle of

{Index plate}, a graduated circular plate, or one with
circular rows of holes differently spaced; used in
machines for graduating circles, cutting gear teeth, etc.

{Index prohibitorius} [L.], or {Prohibitory index} (R. C.
Ch.), a catalogue of books which are forbidden by the
church to be read; the index expurgatorius [L.], or
expurgatory index, is a catalogue of books from which
passages marked as against faith or morals must be removed
before Catholics can read them. These catalogues are
published with additions, from time to time, by the
Congregation of the Index, composed of cardinals,
theologians, etc., under the sanction of the pope. --Hook.

{Index rerum} [L.], a tabulated and alphabetized notebook,
for systematic preservation of items, quotations, etc.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Characteristic \Char`ac*ter*is"tic\, a. [Gr. ?: cf. F.
Pertaining to, or serving to constitute, the character;
showing the character, or distinctive qualities or traits, of
a person or thing; peculiar; distinctive.

Characteristic clearness of temper. --Macaulay.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Characteristic \Char`ac*ter*is"tic\, n.
1. A distinguishing trait, quality, or property; an element
of character; that which characterized. --Pope.

The characteristics of a true critic. --Johnson.

2. (Math.) The integral part (whether positive or negative)
of a logarithm.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

adj : typical or distinctive; "heard my friend's characteristic
laugh"; "red and gold are the characteristic colors of
autumn"; "stripes characteristic of the zebra" [ant: {uncharacteristic}]
n 1: a prominent aspect of something: "the map showed roads and
other features"; "generosity is one of his best
characteristics" [syn: {feature}]
2: a distinguishing quality
3: the integer part (positive or negative) of the
representation of a logarithm; in the expression log 643 =
2.808 the characteristic is 2
4: (electronics) any measurable property of a device measured
under closely specified conditions [syn: {device

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