Meaning of QUALITY in English


I. -əd.ē, -ətē, -i noun

( -es )

Etymology: Middle English qualite, from Old French qualité, from Latin qualitat-, qualitas (translation of Greek poiotēs ), from qualis of what kind + -tat-, -tas -ty; akin to Latin qui who — more at who


a. : peculiar and essential character : nature , kind

differences in the quality of the two temperaments — M.D.Howe

self-interest and sympathy, opposite in quality — John Dewey

the quality of mercy is not strained — Shakespeare

the offender knew the nature and quality of the act — B.N.Cardozo

take on the quality of animate life — H.V.Gregory

b. : a distinctive inherent feature : property , virtue

the qualities of the circle

has the … quality that its color and spectrum fade out — Albert Szent-Györgyi

herbs … and their true qualities — Shakespeare

c. : a character, position, or role usually assumed temporarily : capacity — usually used in the phrases in quality of, in the quality of

I make this inquiry in quality of an antiquary — Thomas Gray

in the quality of reader and companion — Joseph Conrad



(1) : degree of excellence : grade , caliber

decline in the quality of students — H.L.Creek

the quality of the soil — J.M.Mogey

manufactured in only one quality — Catalog of Plumbing Fixtures

the quality of the … golfer's game — Judson Philips

(2) : degree of conformance to a standard (as of a product or workmanship)


(1) : inherent or intrinsic excellence of character or type : superiority in kind

merchandise of quality

proclaimed the quality of his wife — Compton Mackenzie

colt with … plenty of quality — G.F.T.Ryall

(2) of livestock : refinement or excellence of appearance with close adherence to the standards of a breed

(3) : fineness of texture (as of meat or plumage)

(4) : the characteristics (as texture, marbling, color) of uncooked meat that influence tenderness and palatability


a. : social status : rank

your name, your quality — Shakespeare

especially : high social position

a man of quality

solicited a person of quality for the appointment

the colored people of quality — Oscar Handlin

b. : persons of high social status : aristocracy

companions … among the highest quality in the land — Fashion Digest

— usually used with the

flaunting themselves … as if they were the quality — David Garnett

c. obsolete : a group of persons having distinctive character : fraternity , party , profession

you are not of our quality — Shakespeare

especially : the acting profession

players, I love yee, and your quality — John Davies


a. : a special or distinguishing attribute : characteristic

the boy has many fine qualities

qualities of naïveté and inexperience — Peter Foster

more than any other quality … gregariousness — W.H.Whyte

the man was much greater than the sum of his qualities — Willa Cather

especially : a desirable trait : excellence

a man without qualities — Frederic Morton

the defect as well as the qualities of its … origins — Times Literary Supplement

b. : the character in a logical proposition of being affirmative or negative — see opposition 2a(2)

c. : the character of an estate as determined by the manner in which it is to be held or enjoyed

d. archaic : an acquired skill : accomplishment

she hath more qualities than a water spaniel — Shakespeare


a. : something that serves to identify a subject of perception or thought in the respect in which it is considered

b. : something from the possession of which a thing is such as it is : predicate — see primary quality , secondary quality , tertiary quality


(1) : something that exists or can exist only as a qualification of something else

(2) : an attribute that obtains only after a certain level has been reached and in a certain complex fitted to receive it

in the theory of emergent evolution life and mind are qualities

6. : manner of action — usually used in the phrase adverb of quality


a. : vividness of hue : saturation chroma

b. : a property of a musical tone that distinguishes it from another tone having the same pitch and loudness and that is determined by the number and prominence of the overtones mixed with the fundamental — called also timbre

c. : the identifying character of a vowel sound determined chiefly by the resonance of the vocal chambers in uttering it

d. : the character of an X-ray beam that determines its penetrating power and is dependent upon its wavelength distribution

e. : the attribute of an elementary sensation that makes it different in kind and not simply in intensity, duration, or extent from any other sensation

red, sweet, and cold are qualities of certain sensations

8. : the ratio by weight of water vapor in wet steam to vapor and suspended liquid droplets together usually expressed as a percentage


quality , stature , and caliber are often interchangeable as indicating, when used in constructions without grammatical modifiers, merit or superiority because of a combination of good characteristics

our candidate is a man of quality, of stature, of caliber

quality may stress inherent, enduring good traits that make one somewhat superior

there was nothing in his outer case to suggest the fierceness and fortitude and fire of the man, and yet even the thick-blooded Mexican half-breeds knew his quality at once — Willa Cather

had quality, if he lacked character — Ellen Glasgow

as those of quality do, not as the vulgar — George Washington

stature is likely to suggest height reached or development attained to and to connote considerations of prestige and eminence

in time the expanding vitality attains its full stature — Ellen Glasgow

men of stature and local prestige formed the personnel of these committees — C.G.Bowers

Unlike quality , stature is freely used with notions of increase or decrease

probings in the realms of life and matter have seemed to diminish man's stature and to belittle his dignity — J.P.Marquand

caliber may connote an unusual but measurable range, scope, breadth of intellectual capacity or of other ability

it is true that, in the early years of George III's reign, there were Britons of the intellectual caliber of Hume and Gibbon who were avowed skeptics — G.M.Trevelyan

in practically every country there is a decrease in the intellectual and moral caliber of those who carry the responsibility of public affairs — Times Literary Supplement


property , character , attribute , accident : quality is a general term applicable to any trait or characteristic; it is frequently used in relation to inherent traits not immediately apparent and ascertained only after experience or examination

my intolerance is reserved for qualities and not for externals — A.C.Benson

the persistent contemporariness that is a quality of all good art — Aldous Huxley

there was only one quality in a woman that appealed to him — charm — John Galsworthy

property may refer to a peculiar or distinctive trait, often an essential or intrinsic one, which can be used to describe a species or type

since ether is not material it has not any of the usual characteristics of matter — mass, rigidity, etc. — but it has quite definite properties of its own — A.S.Eddington

weight is only an apparently invariable property of matter — Havelock Ellis

character may stress an identifying property

hauynite and noselite show characters like sodalite, but they differ from it in containing the radical SO 4 in the place of chlorine — L.V.Pirsson

deserves credit for having preserved the character and characteristics of his original — B.R.Redman

attribute indicates a characteristic, often an essential concomitant, with which a person or thing has been endowed

this Confederation had none of the attributes of sovereignty in legislative, executive, or judicial power — R.B.Taney

the harder a writer tries to add beauty to clearness, the more surely does he feel himself to be held off from perfection by attributes of language which he did not make and cannot do away with — C.E.Montague

accident refers to an additional, concomitant trait, one nonessential and usually noninherent in the thing under consideration

certainly many mystics have been ascetic. But that has been the accident of their philosophy, and not the essence of their religion — Havelock Ellis

II. adjective

1. : of or relating to high society : aristocratic

quality folks

bring quality people to the wedding — Padraic Colum

2. : of, relating to, or marked by good quality : excellent

quality goods

quality meat

quality stocks

quality leather

this quality revolution in … buying habits — New York Times

make it a quality operation — Virgil Thomson

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.