From Middle English caracter, from Old French caractere, from Latin character, from Ancient Greek χαρακτήρ (kharaktḗr, “type, nature, character”), from χαράσσω (kharássō, “I engrave”), either from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰer- (“to scratch, scrape”) or of Pre-Greek origin. Doublet of charakter.
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈkɛɹ(ə)ktɚ/, /ˈkæɹ(ə)ktɚ/
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈkæɹəktə/
Audio (US) (file)
- Hyphenation: char‧ac‧ter
- (countable) A being involved in the action of a story.
- 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter 1, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698:
- The stories did not seem to me to touch life. […] They left me with the impression of a well-delivered stereopticon lecture, with characters about as life-like as the shadows on the screen, and whisking on and off, at the mercy of the operator.
- 2012 April 26, Tasha Robinson, “Film: Reviews: The Pirates! Band Of Misfits”, in The Onion AV Club:
- But Pirates! comes with all the usual Aardman strengths intact, particularly the sense that its characters and creators alike are too good-hearted and sweet to nitpick. The ambition is all in the craft rather than in the storytelling, but it’s hard to say no to the proficiency of that craft, or the mild good cheer behind it.
- (countable) A distinguishing feature; characteristic; trait; phene.
- A single locus governing the petal colour character was detected on the linkage group A2.
- (uncountable, countable) A complex of traits marking a person, group, breed, or type.
- 1856, John Lothrop Motley, The Rise of the Dutch Republic. A History. […], volume (please specify |volume=I to III), New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 1138660207:
- A man of […] thoroughly subservient character
- 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter 3, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698:
- Now all this was very fine, but not at all in keeping with the Celebrity's character as I had come to conceive it. The idea that adulation ever cloyed on him was ludicrous in itself. In fact I thought the whole story fishy, and came very near to saying so.
- A study of the suspect's character and his cast iron alibi ruled him out.
- (uncountable) Strength of mind; resolution; independence; individuality; moral strength.
- He has a great deal of character.
- "You may not like to eat liver," said Calvin's father, "but it builds character."
- (countable) A unique or extraordinary individual; a person characterized by peculiar or notable traits, especially charisma.
- Julius Caesar is a great historical character.
- That bloke is such a character.
- (countable) A written or printed symbol, or letter.
- 1669, William Holder, Elements of Speech
- It were much to be wished that there were throughout the world but one sort of character for each letter to express it to the eye.
- 1669, William Holder, Elements of Speech
- (countable, dated) Style of writing or printing; handwriting; the particular form of letters used by a person or people.
- an inscription in the Runic character
- c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene ii]:
- You know the character to be your brother's?
- (countable, dated) A secret cipher; a way of writing in code.
- (countable, computing) One of the basic elements making up a text file or string: a code representing a printing character or a control character.
- (countable, informal) A person or individual, especially one who is unknown or raises suspicions.
- We saw a shady character slinking out of the office with some papers.
- That old guy is a real character.
- (countable, mathematics) A complex number representing an element of a finite Abelian group.
- (countable) Quality, position, rank, or capacity; quality or conduct with respect to a certain office or duty.
- in the miserable character of a slave
- in his character as a magistrate
- (countable, dated) The estimate, individual or general, put upon a person or thing; reputation.
- a man's character for truth and veracity
- Her actions give her a bad character.
- (countable, dated) A reference given to a servant, attesting to their behaviour, competence, etc.
- (countable, obsolete) Personal appearance.
Character is sometimes used interchangeably with reputation, but the two words have different meanings; character describes the distinctive qualities of an individual or group while reputation describes the opinions held by others regarding an individual or group. Character is internal and authentic, while reputation is external and perceived.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- (obsolete) To write (using characters); to describe.
- c. 1598–1600, William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene vii]:
- O Roſalind, theſe Trees ſhall be my Bookes, / And in their barkes my thoughts Ile charracter, / That euery eye, which in this Forreſt lookes, / Shall ſee thy vertue witneſt euery where.
- (Classical) IPA(key): /kʰaˈrak.ter/, [kʰäˈräkt̪ɛr]
- (Ecclesiastical) IPA(key): /kaˈrak.ter/, [käˈräkt̪ɛr]
- Hungarian: karakter
- Galician: caritel; → carácter
- Irish: carachtar
- Italian: carattere
- Old French: caractere
- Polish: charakter
- → Russian: хара́ктер (xarákter)
- Portuguese: caractere, carácter
- Sicilian: caràttiri
- Spanish: carácter
- character in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
- character in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
- character in Ramminger, Johann (accessed 16 July 2016) Neulateinische Wortliste: Ein Wörterbuch des Lateinischen von Petrarca bis 1700, pre-publication website, 2005-2016
character m (plural characteres)
- Obsolete spelling of (used in Portugal until September 1911 and in Brazil until the 1940s).