Simple Definition of character
: the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves : someone's personality
: a set of qualities that are shared by many people in a group, country, etc.
: a set of qualities that make a place or thing different from other places or things
Full Definition of character
1 a : a conventionalized graphic device placed on an object as an indication of ownership, origin, or relationship b : a graphic symbol (as a hieroglyph or alphabet letter) used in writing or printing c : a magical or astrological emblem d : alphabet e (1) : writing, printing (2) : style of writing or printing (3) : cipher f : a symbol (as a letter or number) that represents information; also : a representation of such a symbol that may be accepted by a computer
2 a : one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual b (1) : a feature used to separate distinguishable things into categories; also : a group or kind so separated <advertising of a very primitive character> (2) : the detectable expression of the action of a gene or group of genes (3) : the aggregate of distinctive qualities characteristic of a breed, strain, or type <a wine of great character> c : the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation <the character of the American people> d : main or essential nature especially as strongly marked and serving to distinguish <excess sewage gradually changed the character of the lake>
4 : reference 4b
5 : reputation <the scandal has damaged his character and image>
6 : moral excellence and firmness <a man of sound character>
7 a : a person marked by notable or conspicuous traits <quite a character> b : one of the persons of a drama or novel c : the personality or part which an actor recreates <an actress who can create a character convincingly> d : characterization especially in drama or fiction e : person, individual <a suspicious character>
8 : a short literary sketch of the qualities of a social type
Examples of character
… this makes everyone believe not only that anyone can be a parent, but also that everyone ought to do it, even those who seem by character or inclination to be ill equipped. —Anna Quindlen, Newsweek, 27 Apr. 2009
“Beat” is old carny slang. According to Beat Movement legend (and it is a movement with a deep inventory of legend), Ginsberg and Kerouac picked it up from a character named Herbert Huncke, a gay street hustler and drug addict from Chicago who began hanging around Times Square in 1939 … —Louis Menand, New Yorker, 1 Oct. 2007
Someone with Alzheimer's may undergo a regression to a “second childhood,” but aspects of one's essential character, of personality and personhood, of self, survive … —Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia, (2007) 2008
Slowly, steadily, Och and Chris passed along their knowledge of the characterof various courses, and the way a race evolves tactically. —Lance Armstrong, It's Not About the Bike, (2000) 2001
Her character struck the Swede back then as a compound in which you'd find just about everything toxic to desperation and dread. At the core of her he could imagine a nucleus of confidence plaited just as neatly and tightly as her braided hair. —Philip Roth, American Pastoral, 1997
the unique character of the town
The building is very simple in character.
Their house has a lot of character.
Origin of character
Middle English caracter, from Latin character mark, distinctive quality, from Greek charaktēr, from charassein to scratch, engrave; perhaps akin to Lithuanian žerti to scratch
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of character
quality, property, character, attribute mean an intelligible feature by which a thing may be identified. quality is a general term applicable to any trait or characteristic whether individual or generic <material with a silky quality>. property implies a characteristic that belongs to a thing's essential nature and may be used to describe a type or species <the property of not conducting heat>. character applies to a peculiar and distinctive quality of a thing or a class <remarks of an unseemly character>. attribute implies a quality ascribed to a thing or a being <the attributes of a military hero>.
type, kind, sort, nature, description, character mean a number of individuals thought of as a group because of a common quality or qualities. type may suggest strong and clearly marked similarity throughout the items included so that each is typical of the group <one of three basic body types>. kind may suggest natural grouping <a zoo seemingly having animals of every kind>. sort often suggests some disparagement <the sort of newspaper dealing in sensational stories>. nature may imply inherent, essential resemblance rather than obvious or superficial likenesses <two problems of a similar nature>. description implies a group marked by agreement in all details belonging to a type as described or defined <not all acts of that description are actually illegal>. character implies a group marked by distinctive likenesses peculiar to the type <research on the subject so far has been of an elementary character>.
Examples of character
<formerly charactered as “the dark ages,” that period of history may not have been quite so benighted as once thought>
Origin of character
First Known Use: 1591
Definition of character
1 : capable of portraying an unusual or eccentric personality often markedly different from the player <a character actor>
2 : requiring or involving the portrayal of an unusual or eccentric personality <a character role>
Origin of character
First Known Use: 1883
Medical Definition of character
1: one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish the individual
2: the detectable expression of the action of a gene or group of genes
3: the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation
Learn More about character
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for "character" Medical Dictionary: Definition of "character" Spanish Central: Translation of "character" Nglish: Translation of "character" for Spanish speakers Britannica English: Translation of "character" for Arabic speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about "character"
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