Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Were his crowns to be only the thornless, characterless ones that went with his profession?

At first sight he had struck her as undefined, characterless.

The sap is characterless and seems to be utterly rejected at the factory.

But the pity of it is that most of the new things are characterless and dreary.

It is a term of reproach, and means, as nearly as may be, "characterless."

Give me character, good or bad; characterless things are odious.

Precisely; it is to give character to his characterless address.

Why, out of all my ladies, do you come back to me characterless from your situations?

A mean, characterless entrance admits you to the far-famed palace.

It is as characterless as a number, and it lacks the number's one excuse for being.


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."

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.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.