c. 1600, "exclusive possession, private ownership" (a sense now obsolete); 1640s, "a special characteristic of a person or thing," from peculiar + -ity, or else from Latin peculiaritas. Meaning "quality of being peculiar, individuality" is from 1640s; that of "an oddity" is attested by 1777. Related: Peculiarities.
1809, representing dialectal variant pronunciation of horse (n.). Jamieson ("Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language," 1808) notes hoss for horse as a peculiarity of the inhabitants of Moray. Also compare bass/barse, bust/burst, etc.
late 15c., "intertwined, past-participle adjective from twist (v.). Meaning "perverted, mentally strange" (1900) probably is from twist (n.) in a sense of "mental peculiarity, perversion" attested by 1811.
early 15c., "marking distinction, difference, or peculiarity," from Old French distinctif and directly from Medieval Latin distinctivus, from Latin distinct-, past-participle stem of distinguere "to separate between, keep separate, mark off" (see distinguish). Meaning "markedly individual" is from 1580s. Related: Distinctively; distinctiveness.
early 15c., "fitness, proper character," from Old French proprieté "individuality, peculiarity; property," a later form of the vernacular proprete (which became English property), from Latin proprietatem (nominative proprietas) "appropriateness," also "ownership" (see property). The meaning "appropriateness, suitableness to an acknowledged or correct standard or rule" is attested from 1610s; the sense of "conformity to good manners" is from 1782.
"excessive or monotonous use of distinctive methods in art or literature," 1803, from manner + -ism. Meaning "an instance of mannerism, habitual peculiarity in deportment, speech, or execution" is from 1819. Related: Mannerisms.
Perhaps few of those who write much escape from the temptation to trade on tricks of which they have learnt the effectiveness; & it is true that it is a delicate matter to discern where a peculiarity ceases to be an element in the individuality that readers associate pleasantly with the writer they like, & becomes a recurrent & looked-for & dreaded irritation. But at least it is well for every writer to realize that, for his as for other people's mannerisms, there is a point at which that transformation does take place. [Fowler]
1560s, "a quibble, an artful evasion," a word of unknown origin, perhaps connected to German quer (see queer (adj.)) via the notion of twisting and slanting; but its earliest appearance in western England dialect seems to argue against this as its source. Perhaps originally a technical term for a twist or flourish in weaving. Sense of "peculiarity" is c. 1600.
City in western England, Middle English Bridgestow, from Old English Brycgstow, literally "assembly place by a bridge" (see bridge (n.) + stow). A local peculiarity of pronunciation adds -l to words ending in vowels. Of a type of pottery, 1776; of a type of glass, 1880. In British slang, bristols, "breasts," is by 1961, from Bristol cities, rhyming slang for titties.