Meaning of CHARACTER in English

I. ˈker-ik-tər, ˈka-rik- noun

Etymology: Middle English caracter, from Latin character mark, distinctive quality, from Greek charaktēr, from charassein to scratch, engrave; perhaps akin to Lithuanian žerti to scratch

Date: 14th century


a. : a conventionalized graphic device placed on an object as an indication of ownership, origin, or relationship

b. : a graphic symbol (as a hieroglyph or alphabet letter) used in writing or printing

c. : a magical or astrological emblem

d. : alphabet


(1) : writing , printing

(2) : style of writing or printing

(3) : cipher

f. : a symbol (as a letter or number) that represents information ; also : a representation of such a character that may be accepted by a computer


a. : one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual


(1) : a feature used to separate distinguishable things into categories ; also : a group or kind so separated

advertising of a very primitive character

(2) : the detectable expression of the action of a gene or group of genes

(3) : the aggregate of distinctive qualities characteristic of a breed, strain, or type

a wine of great character

c. : the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation

the character of the American people

d. : main or essential nature especially as strongly marked and serving to distinguish

excess sewage gradually changed the character of the lake

3. : position , capacity

his character as a town official

4. : reference 4b

5. : reputation

the scandal has damaged his character and image

6. : moral excellence and firmness

a man of sound character


a. : a person marked by notable or conspicuous traits

quite a character

b. : one of the persons of a drama or novel

c. : the personality or part which an actor recreates

an actress who can create a character convincingly

d. : characterization especially in drama or fiction

e. : person , individual

a suspicious character

8. : a short literary sketch of the qualities of a social type

Synonyms: see disposition , quality , type

• char·ac·ter·less -ləs adjective

- in character

- out of character

II. transitive verb

Date: 1591

1. archaic : engrave , inscribe


a. archaic : represent , portray

b. : characterize

III. adjective

Date: 1883

1. : capable of portraying an unusual or eccentric personality often markedly different from the player

a character actor

2. : requiring the qualities of a character actor

a character role

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.