Meaning of “character” in the English Dictionary

"character" in British English

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uk /ˈkær.ək.tər/ us /ˈker.ək.tɚ/

character noun (QUALITY)

B1 [ C or U ] the particular combination of qualities in a person or place that makes them different from others:

Politeness is traditionally part of the British character.
It would be very out of character (= not typical) of her to lie.
One of the joys of being a parent is watching the child's character develop.
The idea was to modernize various aspects of the house without changing its essential character.
It's not in his character to be (= he is not usually) jealous.

B2 [ U ] qualities that are interesting and unusual:

a hotel of character
I'd prefer an old place with a bit of character.
Old books are said to give a room character.
As people grow older, their faces acquire more character.

[ U ] the quality of being determined and able to deal with difficult situations:

She has such strength of character.

More examples

  • The area where I grew up has been all modernized and has lost all its old character.
  • It's very tasteful, their house, but I can't help thinking it lacks a little character.
  • Closing the factory would irrevocably alter the character of the local community for the worse.
  • There's a marked contrast between his character and hers.
  • The way he drives says a lot about his character.

character noun (IN A STORY)

B1 [ C ] a person represented in a film, play, or story:

The film revolves around three main characters.
She had Mickey Mouse or some other cartoon/Disney character on her sweater.
He made his name as a character actor (= an actor who plays unusual and often humorous people).

More examples

  • The Incredible Hulk is a character in a comic who turns from a scientist into a two-metre tall monster.
  • Michelle is the central female character in ITV's latest comedy series.
  • In the movie she's depicted as a very cold and calculating character.
  • The characters in the book are just stereotypes.
  • Charles Schulz created the characters 'Snoopy' and 'Charlie Brown'.

character noun (PERSON)

C2 [ C ] a person, especially when you are describing a particular quality that they have:

She's a curious character - I don't really know what to think of her.
There were one or two strange-looking characters hanging around the bar.

C1 [ C ] informal someone whose behaviour is different from most people's, especially in a way that is interesting or funny:

Ted's quite a character/a real character - he's 70 now and still riding that motorbike.

More examples

  • She's a rather odd character.
  • There were some dodgy looking characters hanging around.

(Definition of “character” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"character" in American English

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us /ˈkær·ək·tər/

character noun (QUALITY)

[ C/U ] the particular combination of things about a person or place, esp. things you cannot see, that make that person or place different from others:

[ C ] The idea was to modernize the house without changing its homey character.

[ C/U ] Character is often used in a positive way to mean qualities that are interesting and unusual:

[ U ] It’s a theater with a lot of character.

character noun (PERSON)

literature [ C ] a person represented in a movie, play, or story:

The story revolves around three main characters.

[ C ] A character is also a person, esp. with reference to a particular quality that the person has:

There were one or two suspicious-looking characters hanging around.

character noun (MARK)

grammar [ C ] a letter, number, or other mark or sign used in writing or printing, or the space one of these takes:

This computer screen is 66 characters wide.

(Definition of “character” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"character" in Business English

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characternoun [ C ]

uk /ˈkærəktər/ us

IT a letter, number, or other symbol used in writing, especially in printed text or on a computer:

Click on the "word count" tool to find out how many lines, words, or characters are in your document.

(Definition of “character” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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