3

What is a word for something that someone is particularly known for. e.g. a song that a singer always is asked to sing

  • As soon as I posted my question I thought of a possible answer: "signature song" – jane Oct 3 '14 at 17:48
  • We've also chef-d'oeuvre which essentially has been appropriated into English to mean masterpiece but is not confined to music or even the arts, & can be used to describe Einstein's Mass-Energy Equivalence just as easily as can it be used to describe Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. – miercoledi Oct 3 '14 at 17:54
  • It's not a single word, but probably the most widely used phrase in that context is 'claim to fame'. – bruised reed Oct 4 '14 at 10:00
11

Signature is the answer. Both as a count noun and an adjective.

[count noun] something (such as a quality or feature) that is closely associated with someone or something — usually singular

Her latest movie includes the humor and fast pace that have become her signature.

[adjective] closely associated with someone or something : making a person or thing easy to recognize

the chef's signature dish
“Respect” is her signature song/tune.
The director's new movie is a return to his signature style.

http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/signature

6

Trademark: A distinctive characteristic by which a person or thing comes to be known.

E.g. (Lifted from @ermanen)...

...1-Her latest movie includes the humor and fast pace that have become her trademark.

2-The shuffle and snicker that became the comedian's trademark.

*Though "signature" would be the first thought for something that someone is particularly known for.*

0

For your particular example, I think the term "magnum opus" is appropriate. According to Merriam-Webster the definition of magnum opus is as follows.

magnum opus - noun - a great work; especially : the greatest achievement of an artist or writer.

  • I'd have difficulty calling a song of a few minutes a "magnum opus", however remarkable it might be. – Marc van Leeuwen Oct 4 '14 at 7:34
-2

epitome

the typical or highest example of a stated quality, as shown by a particular person or thing: Even now in her sixties, she is the epitome of French elegance.

src: Cambridge online

Also the characteristic would be antonomasia

: the use of a proper name to designate a member of a class (as a Solomon for a wise ruler); also : the use of an epithet or title in place of a proper name (as the Bard for Shakespeare)

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