Definition of character
1a : a conventionalized graphic device placed on an object as an indication of ownership, origin, or relationshipb : a graphic symbol (such as a hieroglyph or alphabet letter) used in writing or printingc : a magical or astrological emblemd : alphabete (1) : writing, printing (2) : style of writing or printing You know the character to be your brother's? — Shakespeare (3) : cipherf : a symbol (such as a letter or number) that represents information mathematical characters; also : a representation of such a symbol that may be accepted by a computer
2a : one of the attributes (see 1attribute 1) or features that make up and distinguish an individual This is a side of her character that few people have seen.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 characterc : the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation the character of the American peopled : 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
7a : a person marked by notable or conspicuous traits quite a characterb : one of the persons of a drama or novelc : the personality or part which an actor recreates an actress who can create a character convincinglyd : characterization especially in drama or fiction a novelist good in both character and settinge : person, individual a suspicious character
8 : a short literary sketch of the qualities of a social type
characterlessplay \-ləs\ adjective
out of character
Examples of character in a Sentence
… 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.
Recent Examples of character from the Web
The attack highlights various stereotypes that are often used to discredit women, especially black women, and the internet immediately jumped at the chance to demonstrate precisely why this kind of character assassination is so dangerous.
There’s much pleasure to be had from the character actors who play the couple’s parents: Holly Hunter (who threatens to steal the film as Emily’s mercurial mom), Ray Romano, Anupam Kher and Zenobia Shroff.
Behind-the-scenes studio wrangling makes those swipes at Marvel’s characters weirdly interesting.
Because the media are corrupt and Trump is immature, both sides must willingly blind themselves to the faults of their favorite characters.
In his debut novel, Stephen Florida, Gabe Habash examines the dark side of this transaction through his eponymous character, an intensely competitive young wrestler at a college in North Dakota.
The president's stream of insults has pained politicians from both parties who have appealed to him, without apparent success, to stop the 140-character bursts of character attacks and focus on running the country.
But they are demonized, their characters are tarnished …
Coffee was pretty much a character on Gilmore Girls, thanks to Luke Danes of Luke's Diner for enabling Lorelai and Rory Gilmore's coffee addiction on the daily.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'character'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Traits of character
Character demonstrates that a word may have many and varied meanings and yet still be easily understood by most listeners when used in disparate settings. We have little trouble distinguishing the meanings of the noun in “she had a fine and noble character,” “Bill is always joking; he’s such a character,” and “He was the last character to appear in the play,” not to mention its many other applications. Character comes ultimately from the Greek charaktēr (“mark, distinctive quality”), which passed through Latin and French before landing in English. The Greek noun itself is derived from the verb charassein, meaning “to sharpen, cut in furrows, or engrave.” The literal sense of the noun (“an engraved or imprinted mark”) existed in Greek, Latin, and French side by side with the figurative one (“a distinctive quality”), and both senses were borrowed into English early on, with a variant of the figurative sense appearing first.
Origin and Etymology 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 centurySee Words from the same year
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 in a Sentence
formerly charactered as “the dark ages,” that period of history may not have been quite so benighted as once thought
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
CHARACTER Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of character for English Language Learners
: 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
CHARACTER Defined for Kids
Definition of character for Students
1 : a mark, sign, or symbol (as a letter or figure) used in writing or printing
2 : the group of qualities that make a person, group, or thing different from others The town has special character.
3 : a distinguishing feature : characteristic the plant's bushy character
4 : a person who says or does funny or unusual things Your friend is quite a character.
5 : a person in a story or play
6 : the usually good opinions that most people have about a particular person : reputation She made an attack on his character.
7 : moral excellence She is a person of character known for her honesty.
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
Seen and Heard
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