Meaning of character

character




When Martin Luther King, Jr. said he looked forward to the day when all Americans would be judged solely “by the content of their character,” he was talking about a person’s essential qualities.

“Just because you are a character doesn’t mean you have character,” a guy called The Wolf advises a young woman named Raquel in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. The line illustrates three different senses of the word, which can mean “moral strength or reputation” (what Raquel lacks), “a person in a work of fiction” (what The Wolf and Raquel literally are), or, by extension, “a colorful personality” (what Raquel has). A fourth usage is “the distinctive nature of a person or thing,” a meaning reflected in the word’s origins. In Greek, a kharaktēr was a stamping tool, used to give something a distinctive mark.

Definitions of character
  1. noun

    a characteristic property that defines the apparent individual nature of something

    “the radical
    character of our demands”
    synonyms:

    lineament, quality

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    types:

    texture

    the essential quality of something
    type of:

    attribute, dimension, property

    a construct whereby objects or individuals can be distinguished

  2. noun

    the inherent complex of attributes that determines a person’s moral and ethical actions and reactions

    “”education has for its object the formation of
    character“- Herbert Spencer”
    synonyms:

    fiber, fibre

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    types:

    spirit

    a fundamental emotional and activating principle determining one’s character
    braveness, bravery, courage, courageousness

    a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain without showing fear
    cowardice, cowardliness

    the trait of lacking courage
    type of:

    trait

    a distinguishing feature of your personal nature

  3. noun

    good repute

    “he is a man of
    character
    see moresee less

    type of:

    reputation, repute

    the state of being held in high esteem and honor

  4. noun

    a formal recommendation by a former employer to a potential future employer describing the person’s qualifications and dependability

    “requests for
    character references are all too often answered evasively”
    synonyms:

    character reference, reference

    see moresee less

    type of:

    good word, recommendation, testimonial

    something that recommends (or expresses commendation of) a person or thing as worthy or desirable

  5. noun

    a person of a specified kind (usually with many eccentricities)

    “a real
    character
    “a strange
    character
    synonyms:

    case, eccentric, type

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    type of:

    adult, grownup

    a fully developed person from maturity onward

  6. noun

    an imaginary person represented in a work of fiction (play or film or story)

    “she is the main
    character in the novel”
    synonyms:

    fictional character, fictitious character

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    examples:

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    Aladdin

    in the Arabian Nights a boy who acquires a magic lamp from which he can summon a genie
    Argonaut

    (Greek mythology) one of the heroes who sailed with Jason in search of the Golden Fleece
    Babar

    an imaginary elephant that appears in a series of French books for children
    Beatrice

    the woman who guided Dante through Paradise in the Divine Comedy
    Beowulf

    the legendary hero of an anonymous Old English epic poem composed in the early 8th century; he slays a monster and becomes king but dies fighting a dragon
    Bluebeard

    (fairytale) a monstrous villain who marries seven women; he kills the first six for disobedience
    James Bond

    British secret operative 007 in novels by Ian Fleming
    Brer Rabbit

    the fictional character of a rabbit who appeared in tales supposedly told by Uncle Remus and first published in 1880
    Paul Bunyan

    a legendary giant lumberjack of the north woods of the United States and Canada
    John Henry

    hero of American folk tales; portrayed as an enormously strong black man who worked on the railroads and died from exhaustion after winning a contest with a steam drill
    Cheshire cat

    a fictional cat with a broad fixed smile on its face; created by Lewis Carroll
    Chicken Little

    a fictional character who was hit on the head with an acorn and believed that the sky was falling
    Cinderella

    a fictional young girl who is saved from her stepmother and stepsisters by her fairy godmother and a handsome prince
    Colonel Blimp

    a pompous reactionary cartoon character created by Sir David Low
    Dracula

    fictional vampire in a gothic horror novel by Bram Stoker
    Don Quixote

    the hero of a romance by Cervantes; chivalrous but impractical
    El Cid

    the hero of a Spanish epic poem from the 12th century
    Fagin

    a villain in a novel by Charles Dickens
    Sir John Falstaff

    a dissolute character in Shakespeare’s plays
    Father Brown

    a Catholic priest who was the hero of detective stories by G. K. Chesterton
    Faustus

    an alchemist of German legend who sold his soul to Mephistopheles in exchange for knowledge
    Frankenstein

    the fictional Swiss scientist who was the protagonist in a gothic novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley; he created a monster from parts of corpses
    Frankenstein’s monster

    the monster created by Frankenstein in a gothic novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (the creator’s name is commonly used to refer to his creation)
    Goofy

    a cartoon character created by Walt Disney
    Gulliver

    a fictional Englishman who travels to the imaginary land of Lilliput in a satirical novel by Jonathan Swift
    Hamlet

    the hero of William Shakespeare’s tragedy who hoped to avenge the murder of his father
    Captain Horatio Hornblower

    a fictional English admiral during the Napoleonic Wars in novels written by C. S. Forester
    Iago

    the villain in William Shakespeare’s tragedy who tricked Othello into murdering his wife
    Commissaire Maigret

    a fictional detective in novels by Georges Simenon
    Kilroy

    a nonexistent person popularized by American servicemen during World War II
    King Lear

    the hero of William Shakespeare’s tragedy who was betrayed and mistreated by two of his scheming daughters
    Lilliputian

    a 6-inch tall inhabitant of Lilliput in a novel by Jonathan Swift
    Philip Marlowe

    tough cynical detective (one of the early detective heroes in American fiction) created by Raymond Chandler
    Wilkins Micawber

    fictional character created by Charles Dickens; an eternal optimist
    Mother Goose

    the imaginary author of a collection of nursery rhymes
    Mr. Moto

    Japanese sleuth created by John Marquand
    Othello

    the hero of William Shakespeare’s tragedy who would not trust his wife
    Pangloss

    an incurable optimist in a satire by Voltaire
    Pantaloon

    a character in the commedia dell’arte; portrayed as a foolish old man
    Perry Mason

    fictional detective in novels by Erle Stanley Gardner
    Peter Pan

    the main character in a play and novel by J. M. Barrie; a boy who won’t grow up
    Pied Piper of Hamelin

    the title character in a German folk tale and in a poem by Robert Browning
    Pierrot

    a male character in French pantomime; usually dressed in white with a whitened face
    Pluto

    a cartoon character created by Walt Disney
    Huckleberry Finn

    a mischievous boy in a novel by Mark Twain
    Rip van Winkle

    the title character in a story by Washington Irving about a man who sleeps for 20 years and doesn’t recognize the world when he wakens
    Ruritanian

    an imaginary inhabitant of Ruritania
    Tarzan of the Apes

    a man raised by apes who was the hero of a series of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs
    Tom Sawyer

    the boy hero of a novel by Mark Twain
    Uncle Remus

    the fictional storyteller of tales written in the Black Vernacular and set in the South; the tales were first collected and published in book form in 1880
    Uncle Tom

    a servile black character in a novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe
    Uncle Sam

    a personification of the United States government
    Sherlock Holmes

    a fictitious detective in stories by A. Conan Doyle
    Simon Legree

    the cruel slave dealer in an anti-slavery novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe
    Sinbad the Sailor

    in the Arabian Nights a hero who tells of the fantastic adventures he had in his voyages
    Snoopy

    a fictional beagle in a comic strip drawn by Charles Schulz
    Ali Baba

    the fictional woodcutter who discovered that `open sesame’ opened a cave in the Arabian Nights’ Entertainment
    Emile

    the boy whose upbringing was described by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
    protagonist

    the principal character in a work of fiction
    Houyhnhnm

    one of a race of intelligent horses who ruled the Yahoos in a novel by Jonathan Swift
    Little John

    legendary follower of Robin Hood; noted for his size and strength
    Little Red Riding Hood

    a girl in a fairy tale who meets a wolf while going to visit her grandmother
    Rodya Raskolnikov

    a fictional character in Dostoevsky’s novel `Crime and Punishment’; he kills old women because he believes he is beyond the bounds of good or evil
    Robin Hood

    legendary English outlaw of the 12th century; said to have robbed the rich to help the poor
    Robinson Crusoe

    the hero of Daniel Defoe’s novel about a shipwrecked English sailor who survives on a small tropical island
    Rumpelstiltskin

    a dwarf in one of the fairy stories of the brothers Grimm; tells a woman he will not hold her to a promise if she can guess his name and when she discovers it he is so furious that he destroys himself
    Shylock

    a merciless usurer in a play by Shakespeare
    Tristram

    (Middle Ages) the nephew of the king of Cornwall who (according to legend) fell in love with his uncle’s bride (Iseult) after they mistakenly drank a love potion that left them eternally in love with each other
    Iseult

    (Middle Ages) the bride of the king of Cornwall who (according to legend) fell in love with the king’s nephew (Tristan) after they mistakenly drank a love potion that left them eternally in love with each other
    Scaramouche

    a stock character in commedia dell’arte depicted as a boastful coward
    Svengali

    the musician in a novel by George du Maurier who controls Trilby’s singing hypnotically
    Sweeney Todd

    fictional character in a play by George Pitt; a barber who murdered his customers
    Trilby

    singer in a novel by George du Maurier who was under the control of the hypnotist Svengali
    Walter Mitty

    fictional character created by James Thurber who daydreams about his adventures and triumphs
    Yahoo

    one of a race of brutes resembling men but subject to the Houyhnhnms in a novel by Jonathan Swift
    King Arthur

    a legendary king of the Britons (possibly based on a historical figure in the 6th century but the story has been retold too many times to be sure); said to have led the Knights of the Round Table at Camelot
    Sir Galahad

    (Arthurian legend) the most virtuous knight of the Round Table; was able to see the Holy Grail
    Sir Gawain

    (Arthurian legend) a nephew of Arthur and one of the knights of the Round Table
    Guenevere

    (Arthurian legend) wife of King Arthur; in some versions of the legend she became Lancelot’s lover and that led to the end of the Knights of the Round Table
    Sir Lancelot

    (Arthurian legend) one of the knights of the Round Table; friend of King Arthur until (according to some versions of the legend) he became the lover of Arthur’s wife Guinevere
    Merlin

    (Arthurian legend) the magician who acted as King Arthur’s advisor
    antagonist

    the main character who opposes the protagonist in a narrative or play
    type of:

    imaginary being, imaginary creature

    a creature of the imagination; a person that exists only in legends or myths or fiction

  7. noun

    an actor’s portrayal of someone in a play

    synonyms:

    part, persona, role, theatrical role

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    types:

    show 9 types…
    hide 9 types…
    bit part, minor role

    a small role
    heavy

    a serious (or tragic) role in a play
    hero

    the principal character in a play or movie or novel or poem
    ingenue

    the role of an innocent artless young woman in a play
    name part, title role

    the role of the character after whom the play is named
    heroine

    the main good female character in a work of fiction
    baddie, villain

    the principal bad character in a film or work of fiction
    cameo

    a brief appearance by a well-known actor in a movie or play
    soubrette

    a minor female role as a pert flirtatious lady’s maid in a comedy
    type of:

    characterisation, characterization, enactment, personation, portrayal

    acting the part of a character on stage; dramatically representing the character by speech and action and gesture

  8. noun

    a written symbol that is used to represent speech

    “the Greek alphabet has 24
    characters
    synonyms:

    grapheme, graphic symbol

    see moresee less

    types:

    show 109 types…
    hide 109 types…
    allograph

    a variant form of a grapheme, as `m’ or `M’ or a handwritten version of that grapheme
    check character

    a character that is added to the end of a block of transmitted data and used to check the accuracy of the transmission
    superior, superscript

    a character or symbol set or printed or written above and immediately to one side of another character
    inferior, subscript

    a character or symbol set or printed or written beneath or slightly below and to the side of another character
    ASCII character

    any member of the standard code for representing characters by binary numbers
    ligature

    character consisting of two or more letters combined into one
    capital, capital letter, majuscule, upper-case letter, uppercase

    one of the large alphabetic characters used as the first letter in writing or printing proper names and sometimes for emphasis
    lower-case letter, lowercase, miniscule, minuscule, small letter

    the characters that were once kept in bottom half of a compositor’s type case
    type

    printed characters
    percent sign, percentage sign

    a sign (`%’) used to indicate that the number preceding it should be understood as a proportion multiplied by 100
    asterisk, star

    a star-shaped character (*) used in printing
    dagger, obelisk

    a character used in printing to indicate a cross reference or footnote
    diesis, double dagger, double obelisk

    a character used in printing to indicate a cross reference or footnote
    alphabetic character, letter, letter of the alphabet

    the conventional characters of the alphabet used to represent speech
    blank, space

    a blank character used to separate successive words in writing or printing
    phonetic symbol

    a written character used in phonetic transcription of represent a particular speech sound
    mathematical symbol

    a character that is used to indicates a mathematical relation or operation
    rune, runic letter

    any character from an ancient Germanic alphabet used in Scandinavia from the 3rd century to the Middle Ages
    pictograph

    a graphic character used in picture writing
    ideogram, ideograph

    a graphic character that indicates the meaning of a thing without indicating the sounds used to say it
    radical

    a character conveying the lexical meaning of a logogram
    stenograph

    a shorthand character
    ASCII control character, control character

    ASCII characters to indicate carriage return or tab or backspace; typed by depressing a key and the control key at the same time
    small cap, small capital

    a character having the form of an upper-case letter but the same height as lower-case letters
    type family

    a complete set of type suitable for printing text
    case, face, font, fount, typeface

    a specific size and style of type within a type family
    ascender

    a lowercase letter that has a part extending above other lowercase letters
    descender

    a lowercase letter that has a part extending below other lowercase letters
    digram, digraph

    two successive letters (especially two letters used to represent a single sound: `sh’ in `shoe’)
    initial

    the first letter of a word (especially a person’s name)
    A, a

    the 1st letter of the Roman alphabet
    B, b

    the 2nd letter of the Roman alphabet
    C, c

    the 3rd letter of the Roman alphabet
    D, d

    the 4th letter of the Roman alphabet
    E, e

    the 5th letter of the Roman alphabet
    F, f

    the 6th letter of the Roman alphabet
    G, g

    the 7th letter of the Roman alphabet
    H, h

    the 8th letter of the Roman alphabet
    I, i

    the 9th letter of the Roman alphabet
    J, j

    the 10th letter of the Roman alphabet
    K, k

    the 11th letter of the Roman alphabet
    L, l

    the 12th letter of the Roman alphabet
    M, m

    the 13th letter of the Roman alphabet
    N, n

    the 14th letter of the Roman alphabet
    O, o

    the 15th letter of the Roman alphabet
    P, p

    the 16th letter of the Roman alphabet
    Q, q

    the 17th letter of the Roman alphabet
    R, r

    the 18th letter of the Roman alphabet
    S, s

    the 19th letter of the Roman alphabet
    T, t

    the 20th letter of the Roman alphabet
    U, u

    the 21st letter of the Roman alphabet
    V, v

    the 22nd letter of the Roman alphabet
    W, double-u, w

    the 23rd letter of the Roman alphabet
    X, ex, x

    the 24th letter of the Roman alphabet
    Y, wye, y

    the 25th letter of the Roman alphabet
    Z, ezed, izzard, z, zed, zee

    the 26th letter of the Roman alphabet
    alpha

    the 1st letter of the Greek alphabet
    beta

    the 2nd letter of the Greek alphabet
    gamma

    the 3rd letter of the Greek alphabet
    delta

    the 4th letter of the Greek alphabet
    epsilon

    the 5th letter of the Greek alphabet
    zeta

    the 6th letter of the Greek alphabet
    eta

    the 7th letter of the Greek alphabet
    theta

    the 8th letter of the Greek alphabet
    iota

    the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet
    kappa

    the 10th letter of the Greek alphabet
    lambda

    the 11th letter of the Greek alphabet
    mu

    the 12th letter of the Greek alphabet
    nu

    the 13th letter of the Greek alphabet
    xi

    the 14th letter of the Greek alphabet
    omicron

    the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet
    pi

    the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet
    rho

    the 17th letter of the Greek alphabet
    sigma

    the 18th letter of the Greek alphabet
    tau

    the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet
    upsilon

    the 20th letter of the Greek alphabet
    phi

    the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet
    chi, khi

    the 22nd letter of the Greek alphabet
    psi

    the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet
    omega

    the last (24th) letter of the Greek alphabet
    aleph

    the 1st letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    beth

    the 2nd letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    gimel

    the 3rd letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    daleth

    the 4th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    he

    the 5th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    waw

    the 6th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    zayin

    the 7th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    heth

    the 8th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    teth

    the 9th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    yodh

    the 10th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    kaph

    the 11th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    lamedh

    the 12th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    mem

    the 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    nun

    the 14th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    samekh

    the 15th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    ayin

    the 16th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    pe

    the 17th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    sadhe

    the 18th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    qoph

    the 19th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    resh

    the 20th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    sin

    the 21st letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    shin

    the 22nd letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    taw

    the 23rd letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    polyphone, polyphonic letter

    a letter that has two or more pronunciations
    block capital, block letter

    a plain hand-drawn letter
    thorn

    a Germanic character of runic origin
    logogram, logograph

    a single written symbol that represents an entire word or phrase without indicating its pronunciation
    vowel

    a letter of the alphabet standing for a spoken vowel
    consonant

    a letter of the alphabet standing for a spoken consonant
    type of:

    printed symbol, written symbol

    a written or printed symbol

  9. verb

    engrave or inscribe characters on

    see moresee less

    type of:

    engrave, grave, inscribe, scratch

    carve, cut, or etch into a material or surface

  10. noun

    (genetics) an attribute (structural or functional) that is determined by a gene or group of genes

    see moresee less

    types:

    unit character

    (genetics) a character inherited on an all-or-none basis and dependent on the presence of a single gene
    type of:

    attribute

    an abstraction belonging to or characteristic of an entity

Word Family

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