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A trait is a prominent psychological aspect of a person that is stable across situations. Such a behaviour, emotion, or pattern of thinking may have been learnt and this becomes part of character. Some traits may be biological in origin and are said to be traits of temperament. Both sets of traits go to define personality.
How traits occur together is the subject of trait theory
Traits are distingiuished from transient states by their durability. So for example trait anxiety is an ongoing predisposition to anxiety across time and situations and is contrasted with state anxiety which is ephemeral.
References & Bibliography
Allport, Floyd H. & Allport, Gordon W. (1921). Personality traits: Their classificiation and measurement. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 16, 6-40. Full text
Allport, Gordon W. (1927). Concepts of trait and personality. Psychological Bulletin, 24, 284-293. Full text