char·ac·ter; Pronunciation: 'kar-ik-t&r
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English caracter, from Middle French caractère, from Latin character mark, distinctive quality, from Greek charaktEr, from charassein to scratch, engrave; perhaps akin to Lithuanian zeyti to scratch Date: 14th century

1 a : a conventionalized graphic device placed on an object as an indication of ownership, origin, or relationship b : a graphic symbol (as a hieroglyph or alphabet letter) used in writing or printing c : a magical or astrological emblem d : ALPHABET e (1) : WRITING, PRINTING (2) : style of writing or printing (3) : CIPHER f : a symbol (as a letter or number) that represents information; also : a representation of such a character that may be accepted by a computer

2 a : one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual b (1) : a feature used to separate distinguishable things into categories; also : a group or kind so separated (2) : the detectable expression of the action of a gene or group of genes (3) : the aggregate of distinctive qualities characteristic of a breed, strain, or type c : the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation d : main or essential nature especially as strongly marked and serving to distinguish "excess sewage gradually changed the character of the lake"



5 : moral excellence and firmness "a man of sound character"

6 a : a person marked by notable or conspicuous traits "quite a character" b : one of the persons of a drama or novel c : the personality or part which an actor recreates d : characterization especially in drama or fiction e : PERSON, INDIVIDUAL "some character just stole her purse"

7 : a short literary sketch of the qualities of a social type


The imaginary avatars that are controlled by players in any RPG. The most difficult part of dice gaming well was to resist the temptation to not shred your character sheet when the character died. The root of this use should be clear upon reading Webby's writeup below; the 'character' is 'one of the persons of a drama or novel.' If we take 'novel' to mean 'fiction' and acknowledge that a well-played RPG should in fact be a drama (one unfolding to the players themselves) then the link is complete.

This use of the word has pervaded the RPG (and by extension, MMORPG, computer RPG, etc.) worlds, in the original form as well as extensions such as NPC and player character.

Character n. - An accessory you wear daily. Unlike armor you hide behind, It's proudly worn on your chest, close to your heart. Character is you at your very best. And at times, your worst. It is the real you. That is its beauty. That is your beauty.

The best part of that, is that it was in an ad for a website that sells make-up.
"Every man has three characters -- that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has." -- Alphonse Karr (1808-1890)

"A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes another's." -- Jean Paul Richter (1763-1825)

"Underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character." -- Oscar Levant

"A man's reputation is the opinion people have of him; his character is what he really is." -- Jack Miner

"During my eighty-seven years I have witnessed a whole succession of technological revolutions. But none of them has done away with the need for character in the individual or the ability to think." -- Bernard M. Baruch

"Character is destiny." -- Heraclitus (504-475? BC)

"The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out." -- Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859)

"Integrity has no need of rules." -- Albert Camus

"The discipline of desire is the background of character." -- John Locke (1632-1704)

When some English moralists write about the importance of having character, they appear to mean only the importance of having a dull character." -- G. K. Chesterson

"Even polished brass will pass upon more people than rough gold." -- Earl of Chesterfield

"The happiness of every country depends upon the character of its people, rather than the form of its government." -- Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865)

"History is the record of an encounter between character and circumstance." -- Donald Creighton

"No man knows of what stuff he is made until prosperity and ease try him." -- A. P. Gouthey

"No man knows his true character until he has run out of gas, purchased something on the installment plan and raised an adolescent." -- Mercelene Cox

JI (character)

ASCII Art Representation:

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  "%%%"   ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,%%%%,   ,%"
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Character Etymology:

Roof, here symbolizing a house or home, over a child. It originally meant, "a house where children are raised," (which can still be found in Chinese as a minor meanings of this character to suckle, nourish, and bring forth). From this meaning it came to symbolize proliferation and, became figuratively to apply to written symbols; which like children became increasingly numerous and complex. Really!

Other Facts:

This JI is the same JI in the word Kanji!

A Listing of All On-Yomi and Kun-Yomi Readings:

on-yomi: JI
kun-yomi: aza azana -na

English Definitions:

  1. JI: character, letter, word, handwriting.
  2. aza: section of a village.
  3. azana: nickname, alias, pseudonym.

Unicode Encoded Version:

Unicode Encoded Compound Examples:

字典 (jiten): character dictionary.
数字 (suuji): digit, number.
字幕 (jimaku): title, caption.

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Char"ac*ter (?), n. [L., an instrument for marking, character, Gr. , fr. to make sharp, to cut into furrows, to engrave: cf. F. caractere.]


A distinctive mark; a letter, figure, or symbol.

It were much to be wished that there were throughout the world but one sort of character for each letter to express it to the eye. Holder.


Style of writing or printing; handwriting; the peculiar form of letters used by a particular person or people; as, an inscription in the Runic character.

You know the character to be your brother's? Shak.


The peculiar quality, or the sum of qualities, by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others; the stamp impressed by nature, education, or habit; that which a person or thing really is; nature; disposition.

The character or that dominion. Milton.

Know well each Ancient's proper character; His fable, subject, scope in every page; Religion, Country, genius of his Age. Pope.

A man of . . . thoroughly subservient character. Motley.


Strength of mind; resolution; independence; individuality; as, he has a great deal of character.


Moral quality; the principles and motives that control the life; as, a man of character; his character saves him from suspicion.


Quality, position, rank, or capacity; quality or conduct with respect to a certain office or duty; as, in the miserable character of a slave; in his character as a magistrate; her character as a daughter.


The estimate, individual or general, put upon a person or thing; reputation; as, a man's character for truth and veracity; to give one a bad character.

This subterraneous passage is much mended since Seneca gave so bad a character of it. Addison.


A written statement as to behavior, competency, etc., given to a servant.



A unique or extraordinary individuality; a person characterized by peculiar or notable traits; a person who illustrates certain phases of character; as, Randolph was a character; Caesar is a great historical character.


One of the persons of a drama or novel.

⇒ "It would be well if character and reputation were used distinctively. In truth, character is what a person is; reputation is what he is supposed to be. Character is in himself, reputation is in the minds of others. Character is injured by temptations, and by wrongdoing; reputation by slanders, and libels. Character endures throughout defamation in every form, but perishes when there is a voluntary transgression; reputation may last through numerous transgressions, but be destroyed by a single, and even an unfounded, accusation or aspersion."



© Webster 1913.

Char"ac*ter, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Charactered (?).]


To engrave; to inscribe.


These trees shall be my books. And in their barks my thoughts I 'll character. Shak.


To distinguish by particular marks or traits; to describe; to characterize.




© Webster 1913.

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