—characterless, adj./kar"ik teuhr/, n.1. the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.2. one such feature or trait; characteristic.3. moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.4. qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a bully.5. reputation: a stain on one's character.6. good repute.7. an account of the qualities or peculiarities of a person or thing.8. a person, esp. with reference to behavior or personality: a suspicious character.9. Informal. an odd, eccentric, or unusual person.10. a person represented in a drama, story, etc.11. a part or role, as in a play or film.12. a symbol as used in a writing system, as a letter of the alphabet.13. the symbols of a writing system collectively.14. a significant visual mark or symbol.15. status or capacity: the character of a justice of the peace.16. a written statement from an employer concerning the qualities of a former employee.17. Literature. (esp. in 17th- and 18th-century England) a formal character sketch or descriptive analysis of a particular human virtue or vice as represented in a person or type. Cf. character sketch.18. Genetics. any trait, function, structure, or substance of an organism resulting from the effect of one or more genes as modified by the environment.19. Computers.a. any symbol, as a number, letter, punctuation mark, etc., that represents data and that, when encoded, is usable by a machine.b. 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.20. a style of writing or printing.21. Rom. Cath. Theol. the ineffaceable imprint received on the soul through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and ordination.22. (formerly) a cipher or cipher message.23. in character,a. in harmony with one's personal character or disposition: Such behavior is not in character for him.b. in accordance with the role or personality assumed in a performance: an actor in character.24. out of character,a. out of harmony with one's personal character or disposition: Her remarks were out of character.b. away from the role or personality assumed in a performance: The actor stepped out of character.adj.25. Theat.a. (of a part or role) representing a personality type, esp. by emphasizing distinctive traits, as language, mannerisms, physical makeup, etc.b. (of an actor or actress) acting or specializing in such roles.v.t. Archaic.26. to portray; describe.27. to engrave; inscribe.[1275-1325; < L < Gk charaktér graving tool, its mark, equiv. to charak- (base of charáttein to engrave) + -ter agent suffix; r. ME caractere < MF < L, as above]Syn. 1. CHARACTER, INDIVIDUALITY, PERSONALITY refer to the sum of the characteristics possessed by a person. CHARACTER refers esp. to moral qualities, ethical standards, principles, and the like: a man of sterling character. INDIVIDUALITY refers to the distinctive qualities that make one recognizable as a person differentiated from others: a woman of strong individuality. PERSONALITY refers particularly to the combination of outer and inner characteristics that determine the impression that a person makes upon others: a child of vivid or pleasing personality. 5. name, repute. See reputation. 14. sign.
* * *▪ biologyin biology, any observable feature, or trait, of an organism, whether acquired or inherited. An acquired character is a response to the environment; an inherited character is produced by genes (gene) transmitted from parent to offspring (their expressions are often modified by environmental conditions). One gene may affect many characters; one character may be controlled by many genes. A character controlled by only a few genes is known as an oligogenic, discontinuous, or qualitative character; a character controlled by many genes is termed polygenic, continuous, or quantitative. A genetically controlled character may be termed dominant when its controlling genes are powerful enough to mask the effect of other genes (alleles) that control an alternative character, termed recessive.A sexual character is one that distinguishes male from female. An organism's primary sexual characters are its reproductive organs and gametes (sex cells); an organism's secondary sexual characters include all other structural or visual differences, such as mammary glands, muscular development, plumages, and behavioral patterns, that do not figure directly in the reproductive act.
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