Definition of character noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈkærəktə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkærəktər//
    Elements of a play, Film reviews and promotion, Film plots, Characters in a story, Elements of a story
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  1. 1  [countable, usually singular] all the qualities and features that make a person, groups of people, and places different from others to have a strong/weak character character traits/defects The book gives a fascinating insight into Mrs Obama's character. Generosity is part of the American character. The character of the neighbourhood hasn't changed at all.
  2. 2  [countable, usually singular, uncountable] the way that something is, or a particular quality or feature that a thing, an event or a place has synonym nature the delicate character of the light in the evening The police pointed out the illegal character of the protest action. buildings that are very simple in character
  3. 3  [uncountable] (approving) strong personal qualities such as the ability to deal with difficult or dangerous situations Everyone admires her strength of character and determination. He showed great character returning to the sport after his accident. Adventure camps are considered to be character-building (= meant to improve somebody's strong qualities).
  4. 4  [uncountable] (usually approving) the interesting or unusual quality that a place or a person has The modern hotels here have no real character. a face with a lot of character
  5. strange/interesting person
  6. 5[countable] (informal) (used with an adjective) a person, particularly an unpleasant or strange one There were some really strange characters hanging around the bar.
  7. 6[countable] (informal) an interesting or unusual person She's a character!
  8. reputation
  9. 7[countable, uncountable] (formal) the opinion that people have of you, particularly of whether you can be trusted or relied on She was a victim of character assassination (= an unfair attack on the good opinion people had of her). a slur/attack on his character My teacher agreed to be a character witness for me in court. a character reference (= a letter that a person who knows you well writes to an employer to tell them about your good qualities)
  10. in book/play/movie
  11. 8  [countable] a person or an animal in a book, play or film/movie a major/minor character in the book cartoon characters Clint Eastwood's character is the most sympathetic in the movie. Wordfinderbiography, blockbuster, book, character, editor, narrator, novel, plot, publish, title CollocationsLiteratureBeing a writer write/​publish literature/​poetry/​fiction/​a book/​a story/​a poem/​a novel/​a review/​an autobiography become a writer/​novelist/​playwright find/​have a publisher/​an agent have a new book out edit/​revise/​proofread a book/​text/​manuscript dedicate a book/​poem to…Plot, character and atmosphere construct/​create/​weave/​weave something into a complex narrative advance/​drive the plot introduce/​present the protagonist/​a character describe/​depict/​portray a character (as…)/(somebody as) a hero/​villain create an exciting/​a tense atmosphere build/​heighten the suspense/​tension evoke/​capture the pathos of the situation convey emotion/​an idea/​an impression/​a sense of… engage the reader seize/​capture/​grip the (reader’s) imagination arouse/​elicit emotion/​sympathy (in the reader) lack imagination/​emotion/​structure/​rhythmLanguage, style and imagery use/​employ language/​imagery/​humour/(especially US English) humor/​an image/​a symbol/​a metaphor/​a device use/​adopt/​develop a style/​technique be rich in/​be full of symbolism evoke images of…/a sense of…/a feeling of… create/​achieve an effect maintain/​lighten the tone introduce/​develop an idea/​a theme inspire a novel/​a poet/​somebody’s work/​somebody’s imaginationReading and criticism read an author/​somebody’s work/​fiction/​poetry/​a text/​a poem/​a novel/​a chapter/​a passage review a book/​a novel/​somebody’s work give something/​get/​have/​receive a good/​bad review be hailed (as)/be recognized as a masterpiece quote a(n) phrase/​line/​stanza/​passage/​author provoke/​spark discussion/​criticism study/​interpret/​understand a text/​passage translate somebody’s work/​a text/​a passage/​a novel/​a poem Wordfinderanti-hero, baddy, character, goody, hero, love interest, narrator, protagonist, trait, villain See related entries: Elements of a play, Film reviews and promotion, Film plots, Characters in a story, Elements of a story
  12. symbol/letter
  13. 9[countable] a letter, sign, mark or symbol used in writing, in printing or on computers Chinese characters a line 30 characters long optical character recognition The URL contained non-standard characters like question marks.
  14. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French caractere, via Latin from Greek kharaktēr ‘a stamping tool’. From the early sense ‘distinctive mark’ arose ‘token, feature, or trait’ (early 16th cent.), and from this ‘a description, especially of a person's qualities’, giving rise to ‘distinguishing qualities’.Extra examples Applicants had to obtain character references before being considered for the work. As you move north, the landscape takes on a different character. Each house in the street has its own distinctive character. Food in Italy has a distinct regional character. He used to go out every night, but now he’s a reformed character. His face has character—I’ll say that for it. His scruffy appearance does not reflect his character. It’s not in his character to tell lies. It’s the basil that gives the sauce its essential character. She revealed her true character when anyone disagreed with her. She’s undergone a complete character change since her promotion. The actors remained in character to answer questions from the audience. The bar was full of interesting local characters. The defence lawyer attempted a character assassination of the witness. The development detracts from the rural character of the area. The film also features the new character Mary Anna Morrison. The houses are Mediterranean in character. The lawyer argued that his client’s violent behaviour was out of character. The main character is played by Nicole Kidman. The renovated buildings retain their traditional character. The restaurant is cheap and full of character. The team showed great character in coming back to win. The town centre has lost much of its original character. The two lead actors inhabit their characters fully. The writers killed off her character when she wanted to leave the soap. Who’s that suspicious character hanging around outside? You must have come across some real characters, working in the circus. Your handwriting has a character of its own. a woman of impeccable moral character buildings of considerable character factors that form the character of a nation offences of a serious character the artist who developed the Superman character the features that make up the national character the individual touches that give character to a house the public character of material published on the Internet Charlie Sheen’s character is the most sympathetic in the movie. He had been discharged without a stain on his character. He is a man of good character and integrity. He loves to draw, and is quite good at sketching his favourite cartoon characters. He reported several undesirable characters lurking around the estate. He showed great character returning to the sport after his accident. He was prepared to sue for defamation of character. I love the delicate character of the light in the evening. It’s not in his character to be so secretive. Most of the buildings are very simple in character. My teacher agreed to be a character witness for me in court. One of the main characters in the film is Leo Bloom, an accountant. She had been a young woman of impeccable character. She was a victim of character assassination. She’s a reformed character nowadays. She, too, was a determined character and was not going to give up that easily. The character of the neighbourhood hasn’t changed at all. The minor characters in the novel provide a lot of the humour. There were some really strange characters hanging around the bar. These are the Chinese characters meaning ‘wind’ and ‘water’. This size of type produces a line 30 characters long. a character actor a tough/​determined/​shrewd character a/​an unsavoury/​undesirable/​suspicious/​shady characterIdioms
    in character, out of character
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    typical/not typical of a person’s character Her behaviour last night was completely out of character.
    in character (with something)
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    in the same style as something The new wing of the museum was not really in character with the rest of the building.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: character