the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.
one such feature or trait; characteristic.
moral or ethical quality:
a man of fine, honorable character.
qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity:
It takes character to face up to a bully.
a stain on one’s character.
an account of the qualities or peculiarities of a person or thing.
a person, especially with reference to behavior or personality:
a suspicious character.
Informal. an odd, eccentric, or unusual person.
a person represented in a drama, story, etc.
a part or role, as in a play or film.
a symbol as used in a writing system, as a letter of the alphabet.
the symbols of a writing system collectively.
a significant visual mark or symbol.
status or capacity:
the character of a justice of the peace.
a written statement from an employer concerning the qualities of a former employee.
Literature. (especially in 17th- and 18th-century England) a formal character sketch or descriptive analysis of a particular human virtue or vice as represented in a person or type.
Compare character sketch.
Genetics. any trait, function, structure, or substance of an organism resulting from the effect of one or more genes as modified by the environment.
any symbol, as a number, letter, punctuation mark, etc., that represents data and that, when encoded, is usable by a machine.
one of a set of basic symbols that singly or in a series of two or more represents data and, when encoded, is usable in a computer.
a style of writing or printing.
Roman Catholic Theology. the ineffaceable imprint received on the soul through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and ordination.
(formerly) a cipher or cipher message.
(of a part or role) representing a personality type, especially by emphasizing distinctive traits, as language, mannerisms, physical makeup, etc.
(of an actor or actress) acting or specializing in such roles.
to portray; describe.
to engrave; inscribe.
in harmony with one’s personal character or disposition:
Such behavior is not in character for him.
in accordance with the role or personality assumed in a performance:
an actor in character.
out of character,
out of harmony with one’s personal character or disposition:
Her remarks were out of character.
away from the role or personality assumed in a performance:
The actor stepped out of character.
the combination of traits and qualities distinguishing the individual nature of a person or thing
one such distinguishing quality; characteristic
moral force; integrity: a man of character
reputation, esp a good reputation
(as modifier): character assassination
a summary or account of a person’s qualities and achievements; testimonial: my last employer gave me a good character
capacity, position, or status: he spoke in the character of a friend rather than a father
a person represented in a play, film, story, etc; role
an outstanding person: one of the great characters of the century
(informal) an odd, eccentric, or unusual person: he’s quite a character
an informal word for person a shady character
a symbol used in a writing system, such as a letter of the alphabet
(printing) Also called sort. any single letter, numeral, punctuation mark, or symbol cast as a type
(computing) any letter, numeral, etc, which is a unit of information and can be represented uniquely by a binary pattern
a style of writing or printing
(genetics) any structure, function, attribute, etc, in an organism, which may or may not be determined by a gene or group of genes
a short prose sketch of a distinctive type of person, usually representing a vice or virtue
in character, typical of the apparent character of a person or thing
out of character, not typical of the apparent character of a person or thing
to write, print, inscribe, or engrave
(rare) to portray or represent
mid-14c., carecter, “symbol marked or branded on the body;” mid-15c., “symbol or drawing used in sorcery,” from Old French caratere “feature, character” (13c., Modern French caractère), from Latin character, from Greek kharakter “engraved mark,” also “symbol or imprint on the soul,” also “instrument for marking,” from kharassein “to engrave,” from kharax “pointed stake,” from PIE root *gher- “to scrape, scratch.” Meaning extended in ancient times by metaphor to “a defining quality.”
You remember Eponina, who kept her husband alive in an underground cavern so devotedly and heroically? The force of character she showed in keeping up his spirits would have been used to hide a lover from her husband if they had been living quietly in Rome. Strong characters need strong nourishment. [Stendhal “de l’Amour,” 1822]
Meaning “sum of qualities that define a person” is from 1640s. Sense of “person in a play or novel” is first attested 1660s, in reference to the “defining qualities” he or she is given by the author. Meaning “a person” in the abstract is from 1749; especially “eccentric person” (1773). Colloquial sense of “chap, fellow” is from 1931. The Latin ch- spelling was restored from 1500s. Character actor attested from 1861; character assassination from 1888; character-building (n.) from 1886.
character char·ac·ter (kār’ək-tər)
An attribute, trait, or distinct structural or functional feature. Also called characteristic.
Genetics A structure, function, or attribute determined by a gene or a group of genes.
Computer Science A symbol, such as a letter, number, or punctuation mark, that occupies one byte of memory. See more at ASCII.
A person in a literary work. For example, Ebenezer Scrooge is a character in A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.
A person who behaves oddly and often amusingly; an eccentric: My uncle’s quite a character (1770s+)
A person; joker: You know a character name of Robert Ready? (1920s+)
out of character
highly expressive of character: a characterful face. having remarkable character: a characterful prose style.
the use of characters or symbols for the expression of meaning. characters or symbols collectively. noun (archaic) (pl) -teries the use of symbols to express thoughts the group of symbols so used
n. chiefly British English spelling of characterization; for spelling, see -ize.
to mark or distinguish as a characteristic; be a characteristic of: Rich metaphors characterize his poetry. to describe the character or individual quality of: He characterized her in a few well-chosen words. to attribute character to: to characterize him as a coward. verb (transitive) to be a characteristic of: loneliness characterized the place to distinguish […]