1. Not ordinary or usual; odd or strange: noticed a peculiar odor in the room. See Synonyms at strange.
2. Belonging distinctively or primarily to one person, group, or kind; special or unique: a species peculiar to the high desert.
1. A privilege or property that is exclusively one's own.
2. Chiefly British A church or parish under the jurisdiction of a diocese different from that in which it lies.
[Middle English peculier, personal, from Latin pecūliāris, from pecūlium, private property; see peku- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.