Etymology
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character (n.)

14世纪中叶, carecter, “在身体上标记或烙印的符号;” 15世纪中叶, “用于巫术的符号或图画;” 15世纪末, “字母, 代表声音或音节的图形符号.” 来自古法语 caratere “特征, 性格” (13世纪, 现代法语 caractère), 来自拉丁语 character, 来自希腊语 kharaktēr “雕刻的标记”, 也是“灵魂上的符号或印记”, 正确的说法是“标记的工具”, 来自 kharassein “雕刻”, 来自 kharax “尖锐的木桩”, 这个词的词源不确定, Beekes认为“最可能是前希腊语”. “ 拉丁文ch-的拼写是从15世纪开始恢复的.

希腊语 kharaktēr, 其含义在希腊化时代通过比喻扩展为” 一种决定性的品质, 个人特征“. 在英语中,” 定义一个人或事物的品质总和, 并将其与另一个人或事物区分开来“的意思是从1640年代开始的. 那” 由名誉赋予一个人的道德品质“的意思是来自1712年.

You remember Eponina, who kept her husband alive in an underground cavern so devotedly and heroically? The force of character she showed in keeping up his spirits would have been used to hide a lover from her husband if they had been living quietly in Rome. Strong characters need strong nourishment. [Stendhal ” de l'Amour, “ 1822] 

戏剧或小说中的人” 的含义最早见于1660年代, 指的是作者赋予他或她的“决定性品质”. 抽象意义上的“一个人” 来自1749年; 尤其是“古怪的人” (1773年). 通俗意义上的“小伙子, 伙计” 是从1931年开始的. Character-actor, 专门研究具有明显特殊性的人物的人, 是从1861年开始的; character-assassination 是从1888年开始的; character-building (n.) 是从1886年开始的.

Origin and meaning of character

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Definitions of character
1
character (n.)
an imaginary person represented in a work of fiction (play or film or story);
she is the main character in the novel
Synonyms: fictional character / fictitious character
character (n.)
a characteristic property that defines the apparent individual nature of something;
the radical character of our demands
Synonyms: quality / lineament
character (n.)
the inherent complex of attributes that determines a persons moral and ethical actions and reactions; "education has for its object the formation of character"- Herbert Spencer;
Synonyms: fiber / fibre
character (n.)
an actor's portrayal of someone in a play;
Synonyms: role / theatrical role / part / persona
character (n.)
a person of a specified kind (usually with many eccentricities);
a real character
a strange character
Synonyms: eccentric / type / case
character (n.)
good repute;
he is a man of character
character (n.)
a formal recommendation by a former employer to a potential future employer describing the person's qualifications and dependability;
requests for character references are all too often answered evasively
Synonyms: reference / character reference
character (n.)
a written symbol that is used to represent speech;
the Greek alphabet has 24 characters
Synonyms: graph / grapheme / graphic symbol
character (n.)
(genetics) an attribute (structural or functional) that is determined by a gene or group of genes;
2
character (v.)
engrave or inscribe characters on;
From wordnet.princeton.edu