PokéBase - Pokémon Q&A
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They've always been called abilities in games, but sometimes people online call them traits. It's bothered me for a while.

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Do you have any examples of this?
If I were to think of a 'trait' in Pokemon, I would think of a characteristic: https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Characteristic
Were/Are Abilities called Traits in the Japaneses versions or something?
According to Bulbapedia, no.
Personal preference? I think mostly non-English speaking players do this, but obviously have no proof to back that claim
Traits (noun)~ a distinguishing quality or characteristic, typically one belonging to a person.
Pokemon Abilities are similar to that definition, correct? They distinguish the Pokemon. Yeah, Indigo, they are characteristics, technically. But Abilities fit this definition too.

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Pokémon Online used to display your ability as "Trait" when exporting teams. This is evident in old moveset answers on this site, as PO has existed for longer than Showdown and was initially more popular when Showdown was first created. This can also be verified by the fact that PO used to format natures as "Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)" instead of just "Adamant Nature" in the export menu, which can also be seen in some old answers. A lot of trachy's old answers have this format.

So people probably just use Trait because PO used it, but I'm not sure why it was used at all in the first place.

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