Definition of character in English:

character

noun

  • 1The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.

    ‘running away was not in keeping with her character’
    • ‘That speaks volumes about his independent character and nature and also remarkable skill set.’
    • ‘Some of us must face moments in our lives that will define not only our character but also our moral fiber.’
    • ‘In many tribal cultures, those born with strange and unusual character traits were held in awe.’
    • ‘Tutors could tailor their instructions to the individual characters and capabilities of students, as well as providing moral guidance.’
    • ‘He has qualities of character rare in politics at the top, and hardly manifest in the president himself.’
    • ‘You would like to demonstrate the unique quality of your character to all and sundry.’
    • ‘If I had to name the most unpleasant aspect of my character, the thing I dislike about myself the most, I'd say jealousy.’
    • ‘Writing reflects the character of a person like nothing else.’
    • ‘I'm fascinated by this character trait known as charm or charisma.’
    • ‘Such a limitation requires a strong breed of man, however, with a quality of character and nobility of soul.’
    • ‘So, she found herself curious as to his reactions to this particular aspect of her character.’
    • ‘These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii's people.’
    • ‘She says that the character of an individual can be assessed by the handwriting.’
    • ‘Another unusual aspect of Fred's character is his ability to pick and nurture people.’
    • ‘It was not about you, your character, your mental stability, or the quality of your essay.’
    • ‘Kibbutz mothers who hoped to treat everyone the same thus also wanted to express their individual characters by molding their own kids.’
    • ‘Does that say something about the character of the individuals involved?’
    • ‘How a crime impacts on a family member depends on specific circumstances, on different individuals' personalities and characters.’
    • ‘Humans vary in strength, intelligence, character, abilities, and a thousand other things.’
    • ‘One of the things that is crucial to the resolution of a dispute is the character and quality of the person who is line managing; that is obvious, is it not?’
    personality, nature, disposition, temperament, temper, mentality, turn of mind, psychology, psyche, constitution, make-up, make, stamp, mould, cast
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    1. 1.1 The distinctive nature of something.
      ‘gas lamps give the area its character’
      • ‘Some villagers also claim that a temporary classroom in such a prominent location would destroy the character of the area.’
      • ‘The development will be in keeping with the character of this conservation area.’
      • ‘Obviously the court must recognise and pay regard to the character and nature of the business in question.’
      • ‘Less problematic is the multidisciplinary character of Peoples of a Spacious Land.’
      • ‘Under the legislation, a local authority may include plans to preserve the character of the areas to ensure their preservation.’
      • ‘But a spokesman for the authority said officers believed the revised scheme would not compromise the character of any extended area.’
      • ‘The association works to preserve the rural character of the area east of the Sammamish Valley.’
      • ‘In future, house builders will have to work much more closely with planners to make sure anything they construct will fit in with the character of the area.’
      • ‘The developers argue that this, along with more variety in the roofline, will lesson its impact on and respect the character of the surrounding area.’
      • ‘Specific yeasts for the style of beers being brewed are used, thus producing brews with their own individual characters.’
      • ‘Residents were notified of the scheme late last week and claim it will completely change the character of the area.’
      • ‘Officers, however, are recommending the scheme because it is considered to have a minimal impact on the rural character of the area.’
      • ‘They cared very much about the character of individual varieties.’
      • ‘The Borries and Allisons are helping to preserve the unique character and flavour of individual apples from the region.’
      • ‘The area had its own character, and you could smell the atmosphere of old Milano, the Milano of Giuseppe Verdi.’
      • ‘It seems that identity is the crucial point of nicknames as it gives clubs an individual character which words such as Wanderers, United and City do not.’
      • ‘However, any development must be sensitive to the character of the surrounding area and not lead to excessive parking or traffic pressures.’
      • ‘The sandstone is widely used in buildings and walls in the area, giving it a distinctive character.’
      • ‘Hopefully your personality will fit well with the character and nature of your team.’
      • ‘But with their multitude of uses they were what gave the area its character.’
      personality, nature, disposition, temperament, temper, mentality, turn of mind, psychology, psyche, constitution, make-up, make, stamp, mould, cast
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    2. 1.2 The quality of being individual, typically in an interesting or unusual way.
      ‘the island is full of character’
      • ‘Many bed and breakfasts have individual charm and character, often in the spirit of the locale.’
      • ‘It's full of character and charm, spilling down a hill and looking over treetops.’
      • ‘Even if a lot of the original furniture was replaced, Fowler keeps the principle that every room has its own individual character.’
      • ‘Full of character, romance and charm, these suites are extremely comfortable and make the perfect weekend hideaway.’
      • ‘Westport is the tidiest town in Ireland, a place full of character and colour, where tidiness and beauty are the norm, or so it seems.’
      • ‘Its small knots and colour variations can make for a lively, interesting floor that is full of character.’
      • ‘Both were unusually large, full of character, and hollow, which meant you could walk around inside them.’
      • ‘It is open plan, though has plenty of character and original features, such as the sea and sky.’
      • ‘This is a charming home with lots of character and an interesting history.’
    3. 1.3 Strength and originality in a person's nature.
      ‘she had character as well as beauty’
      • ‘Let's pray my husband has the same courage and strength of character.’
      • ‘I liked the way he maintained my gaze; he certainly has strength of character.’
      • ‘She was a bright, bubbly individual, full of character.’
      • ‘Jonathan was a man of great courage and strength of character; he was a fighter.’
      • ‘Friends yesterday spoke of his strength of character, which he had shown after a previous incident in which he was robbed by a young woman at his house.’
      • ‘He possessed an excellent character, charming manners and was highly cultured.’
      • ‘People are going to be amazed at her strength of character and her intellect.’
      • ‘And to put yourself under that kind of pressure, you need a certain strength of character, so I have respect for footballers.’
      • ‘The man has no strength of character and is so oblivious to his own weakness that he doesn't even register how weak he sounds.’
      • ‘Their courage and strength of character is an inspiration to the rest of us.’
      • ‘Her strength of character helped her overcome all her problems and she showed an amazing amount of courage.’
      • ‘The lady has a presence about her - optimism and strength of character - that shines through her eyes.’
      • ‘But only a month later, she was miraculously let out of hospital, a feat which doctors put down to her strength of character and will to recover.’
      • ‘The disease has now spread to her lungs, and she is in more pain, but her remarkable strength of character still shines through.’
      • ‘He showed incredible strength of character under the most extreme circumstances.’
      • ‘He had high standards, true character and integrity; he would not tolerate a lie.’
      • ‘She said Clive was always very determined and had great strength of character.’
      • ‘Both were teenagers on the other side of the globe from their families, yet both had the strength of character to survive and flourish.’
      • ‘As a value, they saw strength of character as far more important than success.’
      • ‘Many apparently well-balanced people have no strength of character.’
      integrity, honour, moral strength, moral fibre, rectitude, uprightness
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    4. 1.4 A person's good reputation.
      ‘to what do I owe this attack on my character?’
      • ‘He has lost his business, his reputation, his good character, his savings and his career.’
      • ‘As well as being a benefit game for a veteran football player, a testimonial can be a formal statement certifying good character.’
      • ‘I am deeply disappointed to see him sullying his good name with this attack on my character and my work.’
      • ‘The right is spending time and effort attacking the character of a man responsible for the nation's security.’
      • ‘The court was told that Liversage, who was described as being of previous good character, was originally charged with assault by beating.’
      reputation, name, good name, standing, stature, position, status, image, credibility, acceptability, prestige, cachet, kudos, eminence
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    5. 1.5dated A written statement of someone's good qualities; a recommendation.
      • ‘She dismissed her on the spot, with the full amount of her wages, indeed, but with the conscientious conviction that she could not give her a character for honesty.’
      • ‘Time and again she finds a resonance between her own experiences and Annie's, who, dismissed without a character, is forced into prostitution.’
      • ‘Around 70 more residents wrote individual testimonials and character references.’
      reference, character reference, recommendation, letter of recommendation, commendation, endorsement, certificate of competence
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  • 2A person in a novel, play, or movie.

    • ‘The characters in both the novel and film are very two-dimensional topped off by a smug happy ending which feels empty.’
    • ‘The other obvious question: Will there be a third film with these characters?’
    • ‘How many times have you read a book and later had your mental images of the characters spoilt when you've seen a screen version where the casting doesn't match your ideas?’
    • ‘In contrast Austen portrays central characters who have mistaken first impressions about others.’
    • ‘Wilde's unprecedented response was to attempt to curb novelists introducing fictional characters who spoke like him.’
    • ‘The ultimate climax of the play was the evolution of each individual character.’
    • ‘Male novelists are often accused of writing unconvincing female characters, but this novel has to create a strong protagonist in Tara Mullray.’
    • ‘Many of the strongest, most memorable characters in the novels are women.’
    • ‘The theme of the film involves the central characters encountering new situations while running away from the problems of adulthood.’
    • ‘The production team managed to simplify the complicated relationships between the multitude of characters appearing in the novel.’
    • ‘I'm sure that like me you will leave the cinema pondering the moral dilemmas the characters face and wondering how you would act facing such situations.’
    • ‘It's really hard to make a character so devoid of morals so watchable and likable.’
    • ‘The main characters of this film were all people who actually existed in history.’
    • ‘The play's more engaging theme is found in the moral struggle the characters encounter as they wrestle with the notion of integrity in the face of their grasping egos.’
    • ‘Hinton usually writes her stories in the first person, to reinforce the strong individual identities of her characters.’
    • ‘From the beginning of his career Shakespeare made use of low-life characters as moral commentators.’
    • ‘Each character has an interesting back story which explains how they got to be on the plane.’
    • ‘Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters.’
    • ‘During the discussion everyone agreed it was not a great film, the characters were wooden and that it would have very little influence on inter-faith understanding.’
    • ‘And I remember thinking that Lenny was a really interesting character.’
    persona, person, role, part
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    1. 2.1 A part played by an actor.
      • ‘What's fantastic to see is the way the actor delves into his character and stretches himself.’
      • ‘The actors have their characters down from the opening scene of the first show.’
      • ‘The emotional commitment of all the actors to their characters is outstanding.’
      • ‘What is interesting about my character Dominic is that he's the same person at the end of the film as he is at the beginning.’
      • ‘She works hard to make her character seem real.’
      • ‘He appears to have resolved these anxieties by stressing the moral gulf between his characters and his own beliefs.’
      • ‘The rules also state the actors take their characters seriously enough and forgo the ironic winks that provide a safety net for their ego, but can pop the bubble of the plot.’
      • ‘The line between Allen's own personality and his screen characters is distinctly blurred here, a trait of many of his subsequent movies.’
      • ‘Depp also appreciated the mischievous nature and never-say-die attitude of his character.’
      • ‘All of the actors except the main character Frank are nonprofessional.’
      • ‘Can you separate your film characters from your personal life?’
      • ‘Where many actors hide behind their characters, you do seem to delight in revealing yourself.’
      • ‘If there's one thing all the actors share with their characters, it's a remarkable sense of community and camaraderie.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, all actors portray their characters so well that they don't fail to evoke hilarious laughter and empathy overall.’
      • ‘Spacek uses the mental limitations of her character as a springboard for her performance.’
      • ‘The cast is excellent, and the actors really embrace their characters and have fun with them.’
      • ‘I have no interest in watching an actor talk about his character in a movie.’
      • ‘Even when Willis is reintroduced, his character becomes more interesting.’
      • ‘She even divulged details of the plot from the three as-yet-unpublished Harry Potter books, to help the actors understand their characters.’
      • ‘The actors transformed into their characters.’
      persona, person, role, part
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    2. 2.2[with adjective] A person seen in terms of a particular aspect of character.
      ‘he was a larger-than-life character’
      ‘shady characters’
      • ‘Given his reputation as a carefree character, it is no surprise that he balked at living under the constant scrutiny of Sir Clive's microscope.’
      • ‘Nick is convinced that his story is true, despite earlier doubts and perceptions of Jay as a rather shady character.’
      • ‘Bob was a shady seeming character who hung out around the docks rather a lot.’
      • ‘I'm sure someone in the office will be more than willing to give me a record on this shady character.’
      • ‘A variety of questionable characters order drinks, which you must concoct.’
      • ‘Pietersen thinks he has matured as a person since those bad times at Notts earned him a reputation as an abrasive character.’
      • ‘He's a slippery character whose public statements remind you of a fellow Rhodes scholar from Arkansas.’
      • ‘Galen is a larger-than-life kind of character, due to his immense knowledge and power.’
      • ‘All around him were shadowy characters with unusual names, each appearing unimposing yet extremely confident and strong.’
      • ‘He walked into the debriefing room and was greeted by General Li, a suspicious and shady character.’
      • ‘He's a fairly aggressive and tenacious character in business terms.’
    3. 2.3informal An interesting or amusing individual.
      ‘he's a real character’
      • ‘We had a real character teaching us in the pre-midterm phase.’
      • ‘The bartenders are different; some of them real characters.’
      • ‘Beside this path we also come across a monument commemorating one of the area's most feisty characters - Lady Lilliard.’
      • ‘The community lost another one of the great characters of the area at the weekend with the death of Tade Long of Kilcolman and formerly of Tullahinell Asdee.’
      • ‘I also had a chance to meet up with one of the area's great characters, George Higgs, the senior lecturer in catering and hospitality at Borders College.’
      • ‘I asked her if she had a memory of any of their horses that were real characters.’
      • ‘In the book he delves into the lives of some of the great characters of the area and clearly demonstrated his writing ability.’
      • ‘There just don't seem to be real characters in our game any more.’
      • ‘Jim has written to tell us about a particular teacher and family friend who sounds a real character.’
      • ‘On the field he is a wonderful bowler, a very decent batsman and one of the real characters of the game.’
      • ‘Fr. Gerry Horan, was a very unusual character in that he was a late vocation to the priesthood.’
      • ‘A most amiable and kindly man, he was held in very high esteem and was a noted character in the area.’
      • ‘Freddie was a legendary character in the area and his passing marks the end of an era.’
      • ‘Many of the great characters of the area are given prominence and of course new and old photographs are in plentiful supply.’
      • ‘McLeish is a fan of one of the Scottish games's real characters, although he knows there is much more to his counterpart than an idiosyncratic management style.’
      • ‘There are no real characters in many sports anymore.’
      • ‘Many of them are real characters and a lot of fun to deal with.’
      eccentric, oddity, odd fellow, madcap, crank, original, individualist, nonconformist, rare bird
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  • 3A printed or written letter or symbol.

    • ‘Chinese does not have an alphabet, but characters representing words, formed from stokes symbolising syllables.’
    • ‘The players' names on their jerseys are written in English characters.’
    • ‘Plus I had resourcefully thought to ask her to write the Japanese characters out for us.’
    • ‘I have Kurdish friends and they usually write with Latin characters.’
    • ‘They left behind a large hand-made thank you written in black Chinese characters on a red background.’
    • ‘She had Chinese characters written all over the large white tunic wrapped around her body.’
    • ‘For a premium, they will also be placed on top of the list and printed in bold red characters for prominence.’
    • ‘You need to have your destination written out in Chinese characters for cab operators.’
    • ‘But she is still struggling with writing Chinese characters.’
    • ‘The latest version of Microsoft's tablet PC software is capable of recognising even ill-formed characters written on the screen using the pen.’
    • ‘When she first studied Chinese, she could only memorize how to read and write the characters.’
    • ‘The camera closes in on a book printed in Chinese characters held open under a moving scanning beam.’
    • ‘Their language, Vlach, is a member of the Romance family of languages and written in Latin characters.’
    • ‘The characters were written sloppily and some of the words were not written properly, so they had to stare at it for some time because they could not figure what was on it.’
    • ‘Different kinds of writing brushes can be used to write characters in different styles.’
    • ‘But Chinese characters represent the different meanings of these words, rather than the sounds, which are the same.’
    • ‘The abolition of the use of Chinese characters from all public printing and writing helped achieve nationwide literacy at a remarkable speed.’
    • ‘Before, you had to look for those services to find them, because they were written in small characters.’
    • ‘He wrote five characters on each fan which made the woman angry because she thought all the fans had been ruined.’
    • ‘In Chinese the symbol for danger also represents the character for opportunity.’
    1. 3.1Computing A symbol representing a letter or number.
      • ‘Using one of the arrow characters on the keyboard, I must have opened a html script tag or something.’
      • ‘Our articles often need to use symbols for keystrokes when discussing specific tasks and other special characters.’
      • ‘He couldn't access his e-mail because the wrong characters kept appearing in the password field.’
      • ‘To keep your URL as simple as possible, try to exclude characters such as question marks and ampersands.’
      • ‘So if you do list your address on a website, consider making it harder for the software to read - perhaps by using HTML equivalents of individual characters.’
      letter, figure, symbol, sign, mark, type, cipher, device, hieroglyph, rune
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  • 4Biology
    A characteristic, especially one that assists in the identification of a species.

    • ‘The composition of the cell wall varies among species and is an important character for identifying and classifying bacteria.’
    • ‘However, the data distributions of these characters overlap considerably among species.’
    • ‘No single specimen shows all the characters of the species.’
    • ‘Thus species of these two genera had characters in common, but in others they were different.’
    • ‘DNA sequences from orthologous loci can provide universal characters for taxonomic identification.’
    • ‘This character has also been identified in some wild Triticeae species.’
    • ‘Unravelling the causative factors associated with the decline or rarity of a species has led workers to look for patterns in key characters among rare species.’
    • ‘All of these characters make this species useful as a source of genes for improving the genetic diversity of cultivated wheat.’
    • ‘Identification of many species depends heavily on reproductive characters.’
    • ‘Obviously, in any phylogenetic analysis a subset of the characters will retain the ancestral state.’
    • ‘The duck feather did not contain diagnostic characters for species identification.’
    • ‘An additional character that separates this species from the cervids is the presence of an abdominal musk gland.’
    • ‘As in most other Mediterranean orchids, vegetative characters are similar across species and do not distinguish them.’
    • ‘Unquestionably, these species can be more easily identified using classical characters.’
    • ‘Below we summarize the characters and apparent phylogenetic positions of these taxa.’
    • ‘That is the identifying character of the present species, differing from all other species of the genus.’
    • ‘The species were identified using morphological characters.’
    • ‘There are line drawings of common characters used in identification: leaf features and twig features.’
    • ‘These species share many morphological characters and may be considered a grade of evolution.’
    • ‘However, until all the characters of the type species are known, its superfamilial position will remain unclear.’
    sort, variety, kind, style, type, category, order, breed, species, class, designation, specification, genre, genus, brand, make, ilk, kidney, grain, stamp, mould
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verb

[WITH OBJECT]archaic
  • 1 Inscribe; engrave.

    1. 1.1 Describe; characterize.
      ‘you have well charactered him’
      • ‘You charactered him very well.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French caractere, via Latin from Greek kharaktēr a stamping tool From the early sense distinctive mark arose token, feature, or trait (early 16th century), and from this a description, especially of a person's qualities giving rise to distinguishing qualities.

Pronunciation:

character

/ˈkerəktər/