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Steeped means if a person or a place is steeped in a quality or characteristic, they are surrounded by it or deeply influenced by it. (Collin Cobuild Dictionary)

(1) Tourists like the old, small town very much because it is steeped in uniqueness.

(2) I am impressed by the fact that artists and writers are always steeped in creativity.

Am I using the word correctly in the sentences?

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The root word of the expression steeped in is the verb steep, which means

to cause to stay in a liquid, especially in order to become soft or clean, or to improve flavour

It generally has the connotation that you leave something in the liquid for a long time, and some of the qualities of the liquid transfer to the item in the liquid. When you apply that to the expression steeped in, you mean that a person or place has been exposed to the specified quality for a long time, and they have acquired some of that quality themselves.

The quality of uniqueness doesn't really work, because the town is itself unique, rather than having been exposed to uniqueness. It's questionable whether you could ever use uniqueness with steeped in, because how can something be unique if it gained this quality by being exposed to something else that was unique in a particular way. That would make two things that are supposedly unique in the same way, which is an oxymoron. You could say that a town has been steeped in history, meaning that it has acquired an 'aged' quality over time.

Similarly, the artists and writers are creative themselves, rather than having been exposed to it. You could say that a poet brought up by artists was steeped in creativity as a child, meaning that they were exposed to it before they themselves became a poet... maybe as an explanation of where their creativity came from.

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  • Thank you very much for your clear explanation. The way you've defined it helps me understand the word better.
    – davedave
    Feb 26, 2020 at 5:59

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