Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The combination of mental characteristics and behavior that distinguishes a person or group. synonym: disposition.
  • noun The distinguishing nature of something. synonym: quality.
  • noun Moral strength; integrity.
  • noun Public estimation of someone; reputation.
  • noun Biology A structure, function, or attribute of an organism, influenced by genetic, environmental, and developmental factors.
  • noun A person considered as having a specific quality or attribute.
  • noun A person considered funny or eccentric.
  • noun A person portrayed in an artistic piece, such as a drama or novel.
  • noun A person or animal portrayed with a personality in comics or animation.
  • noun Characterization in fiction or drama.
  • noun Status or role; capacity.
  • noun A description of a person's attributes, traits, or abilities.
  • noun A formal written statement as to competency and dependability, given by an employer to a former employee; a recommendation.
  • noun A mark or symbol used in a writing system.
  • noun A Chinese character.
  • noun One of a set of symbols, such as letters or numbers, that are arranged to express information.
  • noun The numerical code representing such a character.
  • noun Mathematics The trace function of a representation.
  • noun A style of printing or writing.
  • noun A cipher or code for secret writing.
  • adjective Of or relating to one's character.
  • adjective Specializing in the interpretation of often minor roles that emphasize fixed personality traits or specific physical characteristics.
  • adjective Of or relating to the interpretation of such roles by an actor.
  • adjective Dedicated to the portrayal of a person with regard to distinguishing psychological or physical features.
  • transitive verb To write, print, engrave, or inscribe.
  • transitive verb To portray or describe; characterize.
  • idiom (in character) Consistent with someone's general character or behavior.
  • idiom (out of character) Inconsistent with someone's general character or behavior.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Hence— Appropriate; fitting.
  • To engrave; inscribe; write.
  • To ascribe a certain character to; characterize; describe.
  • To give expression to, as mental qualities to the countenance.
  • noun A mark made by cutting, stamping, or engraving, as on stone, metal, or other hard material; hence, a mark or figure, written or printed, and used to communicate thought, as in the formation of words; a letter, figure, or sign.
  • noun Hence The peculiar form or style of letters used by a particular person; handwriting; any system of written, engraved, or printed symbols employed by a particular race or nation of people to record or communicate thought: as, the Greek character; the Runic character; the Hebrew character.
  • noun A cipher.
  • noun A distinguishing mark or characteristic; any one of the properties or qualities which serve to distinguish one person or thing from others; a peculiarity by which a thing may be recognized, described, and classified.
  • noun The combination of properties, qualities, or peculiarities which distinguishes one person or thing, or one group of persons or things, from others; specifically, the sum of the inherited and acquired ethical traits which give to a person his moral individuality.
  • noun The moral qualities assigned to a person by repute; the estimate attached to an individual by the community in which he lives; good or bad reputation, standing: as, a character for veracity or mendacity.
  • noun Specifically Good qualities, or the reputation of possessing them; good reputation: as, a man of worth and character.
  • noun The qualities, course of action, or rôle appropriate to a given person, station in life, profession, etc.
  • noun Strongly marked distinctive qualities of any kind: as, a man with a great deal of character.
  • noun An account or statement of the qualities or peculiarities of a person or thing; specifically, an oral or a written statement with regard to the standing or qualifications of any one, as a servant or an employee.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English carecter, distinctive mark, imprint on the soul, from Old French caractere, from Latin charactēr, from Greek kharaktēr, from kharassein, to inscribe, from kharax, kharak-, pointed stick.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English caracter, from Old French caractere, from Latin character, from Ancient Greek χαρακτήρ (kharaktēr, "type, nature, character"), from χαράσσω (kharassō, "I engrave").

Examples

  • A quibble about your WiR framing: I think that the two functional definitions of WiR are where a female character is killed and/or depowered, thereby taking her out of the power fantasy sandbox for writers to play with and readers to enjoy, and/or as you pointed out, harming a female to get a reaction from a male _character_.

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  • Diagnosing the U.S. 'national character': Narcissistic Personality Disorder 'yahooBuzzArticleHeadline =' Diagnosing the U.S. \'national character\ ': Narcissistic Personality Disorder\' '; yahooBuzzArticleSummary =' Article: Can a nation have a coherent character? ....

    Diagnosing the U.S. 'national character': Narcissistic Personality Disorder'

  • Also with contentus; as, -- fortūnā amīcī gaudeō, _I rejoice at the fortune of my friend (i.e. on account of it_); victōriā suā glōriantur, _they exult over their victory_; nātūrā locī cōnfīdēbant, _they trusted in the character of their country_ (lit. _were confident on account of the character_).a. fīdō and cōnfīdō always take the Dative of the person (§ 187, II, a); sometimes the Dative of the thing.

    New Latin Grammar

  • North Carolina is dear to him -- on the comfort, 'character and feelings,' of her _white_ citizens he sets a high value; he feels too, most deeply for the _character of the Press_ of North Carolina, sees that it is a city set on a hill, and implores his brethren of the editorial corps to 'set an example' of courtesy and magnanimity worthy of imitation and praise.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus

  • North Carolina is dear to him -- on the comfort, 'character and feelings,' of her _white_ citizens he sets a high value; he feels too, most deeply for the _character of the Press_ of North Carolina, sees that it is a city set on a hill, and implores his brethren of the editorial corps to 'set an example' of courtesy and magnanimity worthy of imitation and praise.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 3 of 4

  • But the benevolent character thus deeply laid is the _Christian character_.

    The Faithful Steward Or, Systematic Beneficence an Essential of Christian Character

  • Strength of character depends entirely upon the mastery which the will has acquired over the life; and _the formation of character_, as shown in a strong moral will, is the highest aim of education.

    The Elements of General Method Based on the Principles of Herbart

  • They are forming character and _character tends to permanence_.

    The Gospel of the Hereafter

  • An attack on someones character isn't a logical fallacy when the discussion is * about said person's character*.

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  • They are amiable, because it chances to be one of the constitutional tendencies of their individual character, left uneffaced by the Fall; and _they an just and upright_, _because they have perhaps no occasion to be otherwise_, _or find it subservient to their interests to maintain such a character_.” — “Occ. Disc.” vol.i. p. 8.

    The Essays of "George Eliot" Complete

Comments

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  • “character is the ability to inhibit instinctive impulses in accordance with a regulative principle.” That is, there is a time and place for expressiveness, but it must be regulated in terms of internal guides such as goals and ideals.

    December 30, 2010

  • I'd call that "restraint", rather than character.

    December 30, 2010

  • A letter from the alphabet.

    February 26, 2012