1. One's own; belonging solely or especially to an individual; not possessed by others; of private, personal, or characteristic possession and use; not owned in common or in participation.
And purify unto himself a peculiar people. --Titus ii. 14.
Hymns . . . that Christianity hath peculiar unto itself. --Hooker.
2. Particular; individual; special; appropriate.
While each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat. --Milton.
My fate is Juno's most peculiar care. --Dryden.
3. Unusual; singular; rare; strange; as, the sky had a peculiar appearance.
Syn: -- Peculiar, Special, Especial.
Usage: Peculiar is from the Roman peculium, which was a thing emphatically and distinctively one's own, and hence was dear. The former sense always belongs to peculiar (as, a peculiar style, peculiar manners, etc.), and usually so much of the latter as to involve feelings of interest; as, peculiar care, watchfulness, satisfaction, etc. Nothing of this kind belongs to special and especial. They mark simply the relation of species to genus, and denote that there is something in this case more than ordinary; as, a special act of Congress; especial pains, etc.
Beauty, which, either walking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces. --Milton.
For naught so vile that on the earth doth live,
But to the earth some special good doth give. --Shak.
1. That which is peculiar; a sole or exclusive property; a prerogative; a characteristic.
Revenge is . . . the peculiar of Heaven. --South.
2. Eng. Canon Law A particular parish or church which is exempt from the jurisdiction of the ordinary.
Court of Peculiars Eng. Law, a branch of the Court of Arches having cognizance of the affairs of peculiars. --Blackstone.
Dean of peculiars. See under Dean, 1.
adj 1: beyond or deviating from the usual or expected; "a curious
hybrid accent"; "her speech has a funny twang"; "they
have some funny ideas about war"; "had an odd name";
"the peculiar aromatic odor of cloves"; "something
definitely queer about this town"; "what a rum
fellow"; "singular behavior" [syn: curious, funny,
odd, queer, rum, rummy, singular]
2: unique or specific to a person or thing or category; "the
particular demands of the job"; "has a paraticular
preference for Chinese art"; "a peculiar bond of sympathy
between them"; "an expression peculiar to Canadians";
"rights peculiar to the rich"; "the special features of a
computer"; "my own special chair" [syn: particular(a), peculiar(a),
3: markedly different from the usual; "a peculiar hobby of
stuffing and mounting bats"; "a man...feels it a peculiar
insult to be taunted with cowardice by a woman"-Virginia
4: characteristic of one only; distinctive or special; "the
peculiar character of the Government of the U.S."-
R.B.Taney [syn: peculiar(a)]
as used in the phrase "peculiar people" in 1 Pet. 2:9, is
derived from the Lat. peculium, and denotes, as rendered in the
Revised Version ("a people for God's own possession"), a special
possession or property. The church is the "property" of God, his
"purchased possession" (Eph. 1:14; R.V., "God's own