- any symbol, as a number, letter, punctuation mark, etc., that represents data and that, when encoded, is usable by a machine.
- one of a set of basic symbols that singly or in a series of two or more represents data and, when encoded, is usable in a computer.
- (of a part or role) representing a personality type, especially by emphasizing distinctive traits, as language, mannerisms, physical makeup, etc.
- (of an actor or actress) acting or specializing in such roles.
verb (used with object) Archaic.
- character actor,
- character armour,
- character assassination,
- character code,
- character dance
- in harmony with one's personal character or disposition: Such behavior is not in character for him.
- in accordance with the role or personality assumed in a performance: an actor in character.
- out of harmony with one's personal character or disposition: Her remarks were out of character.
- away from the role or personality assumed in a performance: The actor stepped out of character.
Origin of character
- reputation, esp a good reputation
- (as modifier)character assassination
Word Origin for character
mid-14c., carecter, "symbol marked or branded on the body;" mid-15c., "symbol or drawing used in sorcery," from Old French caratere "feature, character" (13c., Modern French caractère), from Latin character, from Greek kharakter "engraved mark," also "symbol or imprint on the soul," also "instrument for marking," from kharassein "to engrave," from kharax "pointed stake," from PIE root *gher- "to scrape, scratch." Meaning extended in ancient times by metaphor to "a defining quality."
You remember Eponina, who kept her husband alive in an underground cavern so devotedly and heroically? The force of character she showed in keeping up his spirits would have been used to hide a lover from her husband if they had been living quietly in Rome. Strong characters need strong nourishment. [Stendhal "de l'Amour," 1822]
Meaning "sum of qualities that define a person" is from 1640s. Sense of "person in a play or novel" is first attested 1660s, in reference to the "defining qualities" he or she is given by the author. Meaning "a person" in the abstract is from 1749; especially "eccentric person" (1773). Colloquial sense of "chap, fellow" is from 1931. The Latin ch- spelling was restored from 1500s. Character actor attested from 1861; character assassination from 1888; character-building (n.) from 1886.
out of character
see in character.
see in character; out of character.