ETYM Greek: cf. French charactéristique.
Typical or distinctive.
A distinguishing quality.
In mathematics, the exponent of a floating-point number (the portion following the E that indicates the position of the decimal point) or the integer portion of a logarithm. See also floating-point notation, logarithm.
The integer part (positive or negative) of the representation of a logarithm; in the expression log 643 equals 2.808 the characteristic is 2.
In mathematics, the integral (whole-number) part of a logarithm. The fractional part is the mantissa.
For example, in base ten, 100 = 1, 101 = 10, 102 = 100, and so on; the powers to which 10 is raised are the characteristics. To determine the power to which 10 must be raised to obtain a number between 10 and 100, say 20 (2 x 10, or log 2 + log 10), the logarithm for 2 is found (0.3010), and the characteristic 1 added to make 1.3010.