I. 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 1. 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 e. (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 2. a. one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual b. (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
7. 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, typecharacterless adjective II. transitive verb Date: 1591 1. archaic engrave, inscribe 2. 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

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

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  • character — n 1 Character, symbol, sign, mark are comparable in the specific sense of an arbitrary or conventional device that is used in writing and in printing, but is neither a word nor a phrase nor a picture. Character suggests the distinctive form or… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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