Char"ac*ter (?), n. [L., an
instrument for marking, character, Gr. &?;, fr. &?; to make
sharp, to cut into furrows, to engrave: cf. F.
1. A distinctive mark; a letter, figure,
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.
2. Style of writing or printing;
handwriting; the peculiar form of letters used by a particular
person or people; as, an inscription in the Runic
You know the character to be your
3. The peculiar quality, or the sum of
qualities, by which a person or a thing is distinguished from
others; the stamp impressed by nature, education, or habit; that
which a person or thing really is; nature; disposition.
The character or that dominion.
Know well each Ancient's proper
His fable, subject, scope in every page;
Religion, Country, genius of his Age.
A man of . . . thoroughly subservient
4. Strength of mind; resolution;
independence; individuality; as, he has a great deal of
5. Moral quality; the principles and
motives that control the life; as, a man of character; his
character saves him from suspicion.
6. Quality, position, rank, or capacity;
quality or conduct with respect to a certain office or duty; as,
in the miserable character of a slave; in his
character as a magistrate; her character as a
7. The estimate, individual or general,
put upon a person or thing; reputation; as, a man's
character for truth and veracity; to give one a bad
This subterraneous passage is much mended since
Seneca gave so bad a character of it.
8. A written statement as to behavior,
competency, etc., given to a servant. [Colloq.]
9. A unique or extraordinary
individuality; a person characterized by peculiar or notable
traits; a person who illustrates certain phases of character; as,
Randolph was a character; Cæsar is a great
10. One of the persons of a drama or
&fist; "It would be well if character and
reputation were used distinctively. In truth, character is
what a person is; reputation is what he is supposed to be.
Character is in himself, reputation is in the minds of others.
Character is injured by temptations, and by wrongdoing;
reputation by slanders, and libels. Character endures throughout
defamation in every form, but perishes when there is a voluntary
transgression; reputation may last through numerous
transgressions, but be destroyed by a single, and even an
unfounded, accusation or aspersion." Abbott.
Char"ac*ter, v. t. [imp. &
p. p. Charactered (?).]
1. To engrave; to inscribe.
These trees shall be my books.
And in their barks my thoughts I 'll character.
2. To distinguish by particular marks or
traits; to describe; to characterize. [R.]