definition of charactor by The Free Dictionary





a. The combination of mental characteristics and behavior that distinguishes a person or group. See Synonyms at disposition.
b. The distinguishing nature of something. See Synonyms at quality.

a. Moral strength; integrity: an educational program designed to develop character.

b. Public estimation of someone; reputation: personal attacks that damaged her character.

3. Biology A structure, function, or attribute of an organism, influenced by genetic, environmental, and developmental factors.


a. A person considered as having a specific quality or attribute: “Being a man of the world and a public character, [he] took everything as a matter of course” (George Eliot).

b. A person considered funny or eccentric: catcalls from some character in the back row.


a. A person portrayed in an artistic piece, such as a drama or novel.

b. A person or animal portrayed with a personality in comics or animation: a cartoon character.

c. Characterization in fiction or drama: a script that is weak in plot but strong in character.

d. Status or role; capacity: in his character as the father.

6. A description of a person’s attributes, traits, or abilities.

7. A formal written statement as to competency and dependability, given by an employer to a former employee; a recommendation.


a. A mark or symbol used in a writing system.

b. A Chinese character.

9. Computers

a. One of a set of symbols, such as letters or numbers, that are arranged to express information.

b. The numerical code representing such a character.

10. Mathematics The trace function of a representation.


a. A style of printing or writing: “Here is the hand and seal of the Duke; you know the character” (Shakespeare).

b. A cipher or code for secret writing.


1. Of or relating to one’s character.


a. Specializing in the interpretation of often minor roles that emphasize fixed personality traits or specific physical characteristics: a character actor.

b. Of or relating to the interpretation of such roles by an actor: the character part of the hero’s devoted mother.

3. Dedicated to the portrayal of a person with regard to distinguishing psychological or physical features: a character sketch.

tr.v. charac·tered, charac·ter·ing, charac·ters Archaic

1. To write, print, engrave, or inscribe.

2. To portray or describe; characterize.


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 charactēr, from Greek kharaktēr, from kharassein, to inscribe, from kharax, kharak-, pointed stick.]

char′ac·ter·less adj.

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




1. the combination of traits and qualities distinguishing the individual nature of a person or thing

2. one such distinguishing quality; characteristic

3. moral force; integrity: a man of character.


a. reputation, esp a good reputation

b. (as modifier): character assassination.

5. a summary or account of a person’s qualities and achievements; testimonial: my last employer gave me a good character.

6. capacity, position, or status: he spoke in the character of a friend rather than a father.

7. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a person represented in a play, film, story, etc; role

8. an outstanding person: one of the great characters of the century.

9. informal an odd, eccentric, or unusual person: he’s quite a character.

10. an informal word for person: a shady character.

11. (Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) a symbol used in a writing system, such as a letter of the alphabet

12. (Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) printing Also called: sort any single letter, numeral, punctuation mark, or symbol cast as a type

13. (Computer Science) computing any letter, numeral, etc, which is a unit of information and can be represented uniquely by a binary pattern

14. (Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) a style of writing or printing

15. (Genetics) genetics any structure, function, attribute, etc, in an organism, which may or may not be determined by a gene or group of genes

16. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a short prose sketch of a distinctive type of person, usually representing a vice or virtue

17. in character typical of the apparent character of a person or thing

18. out of character not typical of the apparent character of a person or thing

vb (tr)

19. (Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) to write, print, inscribe, or engrave

20. rare to portray or represent

[C14: from Latin: distinguishing mark, from Greek kharaktēr engraver’s tool, from kharassein to engrave, stamp]

ˈcharacterful adj

ˈcharacterless adj

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈkær ɪk tər)


1. the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of a person or thing.

2. one such feature or trait; characteristic.

3. moral or ethical quality: a woman of strong character.

4. qualities of honesty, fortitude, etc.; integrity.

5. reputation: a stain on one’s character.

6. distinctive, often interesting qualities: an old pub with a lot of character.

7. a person, esp. with reference to behavior or personality: a suspicious character.

8. an odd, eccentric, or unusual person.

9. a person represented in a drama, story, etc.

10. a role, as in a play or film.

11. status or capacity: in his character of a justice of the peace.

12. a symbol used in a system of writing: Chinese characters.

13. a significant visual mark or symbol.

14. an account of a person’s qualities, abilities, etc.; reference.

15. (in 17th- and 18th-century literature) a sketch of a particular virtue or vice represented in a person or type.

16. any trait, function, structure, or substance of an organism resulting from the effect of one or more genes.

17. any encoded unit of computer-usable data representing a symbol, as a letter, number, or puncuation mark, or a space, carriage return, etc.

18. a cipher or cipher message.


19. (of a theatrical role) having or requiring eccentric, comedic, ethnic, or other distinctive traits.

20. (of an actor) acting or specializing in such roles.

v.t. Archaic.

21. to portray; describe.

22. to engrave; inscribe.


in (or out of) character,

a. in accord with (or in violation of) one’s usual behavior and disposition.

b. in accordance with (or deviating from) behavior appropriate to the role assumed by an actor.

[1275–1325; Middle English caractere < Middle French < Latin charactēr < Greek charaktḗr graving tool, its mark]

char′ac•ter•ful, adj.

char′ac•ter•less, adj.

syn: character, personality refer to the sum of the characteristics possessed by a person. character refers esp. to the moral qualities and ethical standards that make up the inner nature of a person: a man of sterling character. personality refers particularly to outer characteristics, as wittiness or charm, that determine the impression that a person makes upon others: a pleasing personality. See also reputation.

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

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