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

  • n. An inherent or distinguishing characteristic; a property.
  • n. A personal trait, especially a character trait: "The most vital quality a soldier can possess is self-confidence” ( George S. Patton).
  • n. Essential character; nature: "The quality of mercy is not strain'd” ( Shakespeare).
  • n. Superiority of kind: an intellect of unquestioned quality.
  • n. Degree or grade of excellence: yard goods of low quality.
  • n. High social position.
  • n. Those in a high social position.
  • n. Music Timbre, as determined by harmonics: a voice with a distinctive metallic quality.
  • n. Linguistics The character of a vowel sound determined by the size and shape of the oral cavity and the amount of resonance with which the sound is produced.
  • n. Logic The positive or negative character of a proposition.
  • adj. Having a high degree of excellence: the importance of quality health care.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Level of excellence
  • n. The third step in OPQRST where the responder investigates what the NOI/MOI feels like.
  • n. A property or an attribute that differentiates a thing or person.
  • n. In a two-phase liquid-vapor mixture, the ratio of the mass of vapor present to the total mass of the mixture.
  • n. High social position. (See also the quality.)
  • n. The degree to which a man-made object or system is free from bugs and flaws, as opposed to scope of functions or quantity of items.
  • adj. Being of good worth, well made, fit for purpose.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The condition of being of such and such a sort as distinguished from others; nature or character relatively considered, as of goods; character; sort; rank.
  • n. Special or temporary character; profession; occupation; assumed or asserted rank, part, or position.
  • n. That which makes, or helps to make, anything such as it is; anything belonging to a subject, or predicable of it; distinguishing property, characteristic, or attribute; peculiar power, capacity, or virtue; distinctive trait
  • n. An acquired trait; accomplishment; acquisition.
  • n. Superior birth or station; high rank; elevated character.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To supply with qualities or a quality.
  • To estimate at a certain value.
  • n. That from which anything can be said to be such or such; a character expressible by an adjective admitting degrees of comparison, but not explicitly relative nor quantitative: thus, blueness, hardness, agility, and mirthfulness are qualities.
  • n. One of those characters of a person or thing which make it good or bad; a moral disposition or habit.
  • n. A distinguished and characteristic excellence or superiority: as, this wine has quality.
  • n. Degree of excellence or fineness; grade: as, the food was of inferior quality; the finest quality of cloth.
  • n. A title, or designation of rank, profession, or the like.
  • n. Rank; profession; occupation; function; character sustained.
  • n. Persons of the same calling or fraternity.
  • n. Nobility or gentry, either abstractly (as, persons of quality) or concretely (as, the quality). But the former is obsolescent, the latter obsolete or now vulgar.
  • n. Character in respect to dryness or moisture, heat or cold, these being the elemental qualities from which it was supposed other properties, especially those of drugs and the temperaments, were compounded.
  • n. Cause; occasion: an incorrect use.
  • n. In logic: The character of a proposition as affirmative or negative.
  • n. The character of apprehension as clear and distinct or obscure and confused.
  • n. A quality really existing in a body, and not imputed.
  • n. A derivative quality.
  • n. A patible quality.
  • n. Synonyms and Quality, Property, Attribute, Accident, Characteristic, Character, Affection, Predicate, Mark, Difference, Diathesis, Determination. Quality is that which makes or helps to make a person or thing such as he or it is. It is not universal, and in one popular sense it implies an excellence or a defect. In popular speech a quality is intellectual or moral; in metaphysics it may be also physical. A property is that which is viewed as peculiarly one's own, a peculiar quality. An attribute is a high and lofty character: the attributes of Cod are natural, as omniscience, omnipotence, etc., and moral, as holiness, justice, mercy, etc. “Accident is an abbreviated expression for accidental or contingent quality.” (Sir W. Hamilton, Metaph., vi.) Characteristic is not a term of logic or philosophy; it stands for a personal, peculiar, or distinguishing quality: as, yellow in skin, horn, milk, etc., is a characteristic of Guernsey cattle. Characteristics may be mental, moral, or physical. Character is the most general of these words; a character is anything which is true of a subject. In another sense character (as a collective term) is the sum of the characteristics of a person or thing, especially the moral characteristics. The word always views them as making a unit or whole, and has lower and higher uses. The other words are somewhat technical. Affection is used in various senses. Predicate and mark are very general words in logic. Difference is a character distinguishing one class of objects from others. Diathesis, the corresponding Greek form, is applied in medicine to peculiarities of constitution. Determination is a more recent philosophical term denoting a character in general.
  • n. Specifically, in acoustics, that in a particular sound or tone which distinguishes it from other sounds or tones of the same pitch and loudness; timbre; tone-color: as, the quality of a violin tone. See timbre.
  • n. In the fine arts, especially painting, often used to designate body, richness, and depth of color, or similar attributes of style in modelling or of relief in architectural detail.
  • n. In psychophysics, one of the constituent attributes of the elementary mental process, sensation, or affection; that attribute which individualizes the element and from which it receives its name.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a characteristic property that defines the apparent individual nature of something
  • adj. of high social status
  • adj. of superior grade
  • n. (music) the distinctive property of a complex sound (a voice or noise or musical sound)
  • n. a degree or grade of excellence or worth
  • n. an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone
  • n. high social status


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

Middle English qualite, from Old French, from Latin quālitās, quālitāt-, from quālis, of what kind.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old French qualité, from Latin qualitatem, accusative of qualitas, from qualis ("of what kind"), from Proto-Indo-European *kʷo- (“who, how”). Cicero coined qualitas as a calque to translate the Ancient Greek word ποιότης (poiótes, "quality"), coined by Plato from ποῖος (poios, "of what nature, of what kind").



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  • Pure, dead, brilliant!

    March 9, 2009

  • In Scotland (and perhaps all of the UK) this word has a use where the meaning is intended to be something like excellent. And this use can sometimes be ironical.

    March 9, 2009