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Definition of character

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char·ac·ter  audio  (krk-tr) KEY 

  1. The combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group, or thing from another. See Synonyms at disposition.
  2. A distinguishing feature or attribute, as of an individual, group, or category. See Synonyms at quality.
  3. Genetics A structure, function, or attribute determined by a gene or group of genes.
  4. Moral or ethical strength.
  5. A description of a person's attributes, traits, or abilities.
  6. A formal written statement as to competency and dependability, given by an employer to a former employee; a recommendation.
  7. Public estimation of someone; reputation: personal attacks that damaged her character.
  8. Status or role; capacity: in his character as the father.
    1. A notable or well-known person; a personage.
    2. A person, especially one who is peculiar or eccentric: a shady character; catcalls from some character in the back row.
    1. A person portrayed in an artistic piece, such as a drama or novel.
    2. Characterization in fiction or drama: a script that is weak in plot but strong in character.
  9. A mark or symbol used in a writing system.
  10. Computer Science
    1. One of a set of symbols, such as letters or numbers, that are arranged to express information.
    2. The numerical code representing such a character.
  11. A style of printing or writing.
  12. A symbol used in secret writing; a cipher or code.
  1. Of or relating to one's character.
    1. Specializing in the interpretation of often minor roles that emphasize fixed personality traits or specific physical characteristics: a character actor.
    2. Of or relating to the interpretation of such roles by an actor: the character part of the hero's devoted mother.
  2. Dedicated to the portrayal of a person with regard to distinguishing psychological or physical features: a character sketch.
  3. Law Of or relating to a person who gives testimony as to the moral and ethical reputation or behavior of one engaged in a lawsuit: a character witness.
Archaic charac·tered, charac·ter·ing, charac·ters
  1. To write, print, engrave, or inscribe.
  2. To portray or describe.

in character
Consistent with someone's general character or behavior: behavior that was totally in character.
out of character
Inconsistent with someone's general character or behavior: a response so much out of character that it amazed me.

Middle English carecter, distinctive mark, imprint on the soul, from Old French caractere, from Latin charactr, from Greek kharaktr, from kharassein, to inscribe, from kharax, kharak-, pointed stick


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