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


But thou knowest their characters; and I will not therefore sully my paper with them.

Perhaps it will be answered, Are not the characters then taken from life?

They are driven by their lives and characters; I am driven by mine.'

Her first estimate of the characters of the two men seemed to be correct.

There's no doubt about the thoroughness and consistency of Scott's characters.

They're all the way round, and clear through, his characters are.

A most glorious achievement, and worthy to be writ in characters of gold.

Several of the characters are original and splendid creations.

They were characters in their way as well as their mistresses.

There is no joy at all in the lives of the characters whom he portrays in it.


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.