Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: caractere, from Latin character 'mark, particular quality', from Greek, from charassein 'to make a mark in a surface'


Related topics: Arts, Computers
char‧ac‧ter S1 W1

all somebody's qualities

[countable usually singular] the particular combination of qualities that makes someone a particular type of person [↪ characteristic]:
He has a cheerful but quiet character.
Children grow up with a mixture of character traits (=character qualities) from both sides of their family.
his temper and other character flaws (=bad qualities)
in character/out of character (=typical or untypical of someone's character)
He swore, which was out of character for him.
the English/French etc character
Openness is at the heart of the American character.
character sketch (=a description of someone's character)


a) A a person in a book, play, film etc:
Candida is the most interesting character in the play.
main/central character
In the story, the main character has left his girlfriend and baby.
Everyone recognizes Disney's cartoon characters.
b) a person of a particular type, especially a strange or dishonest one:
a couple of shady characters standing on the corner
I'm considered a reformed character these days (=someone who has stopped doing bad things).
c) an interesting and unusual person:
Linda was something of a character.

qualities of something

[singular,uncountable] the particular combination of features and qualities that makes a thing or place different from all others [= nature]
character of
The whole character of the school has changed.
the unspoilt character of the coast
in character
The southern state became more nationalist in character.

moral strength

[uncountable] a combination of qualities such as courage, loyalty, and honesty that are admired and regarded as valuable:
a woman of great character
Schools were created to teach reading and mathematics, not moral character.
It takes strength of character to admit you are wrong.
Sport can be character building (=develop good moral qualities).

interesting quality

[uncountable] a quality that makes someone or something special and interesting:
a red wine with a meaty character
suburban houses that lack character


[uncountable] formal the opinion that people have about whether you are a good person and can be trusted:
a man of previous good character
The campaign was accused of character assassination (=an unfair attack on someone's character) because of its negative ads.
His defence called several people as character witnesses (=people who think that someone has a good character).
Mr Wetherby wrote him a character reference (=a statement about his good qualities).


[countable]SL a letter, mark, or sign used in writing, printing, or on a computer:
the Chinese character for horse

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