First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Character mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Character

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Char"ac*ter
  1. 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.]
  2. 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.]
  3. 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.]
  4. Strength of mind; resolution; independence; individuality; as, he has a great deal of character .
  5. Moral quality; the principles and motives that control the life; as, a man of character; his character saves him from suspicion.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.]
  8. A written statement as to behavior, competency, etc., given to a servant.(Colloq)
  9. 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; Cæsar is a great historical character .
  10. One of the persons of a drama or novel.

Note: ☞ “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.” Abbott.

Etymology: L., an instrument for marking, character, Gr. �, fr. � to make sharp, to cut into furrows, to engrave: cf. F. caractère

verb Char"ac*ter
  1. To engrave; to inscribe.(R)"These trees shall be my books. And in their barks my thoughts I 'll character." [Shak.]
  2. To distinguish by particular marks or traits; to describe; to characterize.(R)
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. (genetics) an attribute (structural or functional) that is determined by a gene or group of genes
  2. The inherent complex of attributes that determines a persons moral and ethical actions and reactions ("education has for its object the formation of character")
  3. A characteristic property that defines the apparent individual nature of something ("the radical character of our demands")
  4. An actor's portrayal of someone in a play
  5. 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")
  6. A written symbol that is used to represent speech ("the Greek alphabet has 24 characters")
  7. An imaginary person represented in a work of fiction (play or film or story) ("she is the main character in the novel")
  8. A person of a specified kind (usually with many eccentricities) ("a real character" and "a strange character")
  9. Good repute ("he is a man of character")
  10. Engrave or inscribe characters on

From Middle English caracter, from Old French caractere, from Latin character, from Ancient Greek χαρακτήρ (kharaktḗr, “type, nature, character”), from χαράσσω (kharássō, “I engrave”).

  1. A being involved in the action of a story.
  2. A distinguishing feature; characteristic; trait; phene.
    (genetics) A single locus governing the petal colour was detected on the linkage group A2.
  3. A complex of mental and ethical traits marking a person or a group.
    A study of the suspect's and his cast iron alibi ruled him out.
  4. Strength of mind; resolution; independence; individuality; moral strength.
    He has a great deal of .
    "You may not like to eat liver," said Calvin's father, "but it builds ."
  5. A unique or extraordinary individual; a person characterized by peculiar or notable traits, especially charisma.
    Julius Caesar is a great historical .
    That bloke is such a .
  6. A written or printed symbol, or letter.
  7. Style of writing or printing; handwriting; the particular form of letters used by a person or people.
    an inscription in the Runic
  8. (computing) One of the basic elements making up a text file or string: a code representing a printing character or a control character.
  9. (informal) A person or individual, especially one who is unknown or raises suspicions.
    We saw a shady slinking out of the office with some papers.
  10. (mathematics) A complex number representing an element of a finite Abelian group.
  11. Quality, position, rank, or capacity; quality or conduct with respect to a certain office or duty.
    in the miserable of a slave
    in his as a magistrate
  12. (dated) The estimate, individual or general, put upon a person or thing; reputation.
    a man's for truth and veracity
    Her actions give her a bad .
  13. (dated) A reference given to a servant, attesting to his/her behaviour, competence, etc.

character was also found in the following language(s): Latin and Portuguese

Where is the name Character popular?

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Popularity of Character as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Character as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Georgia, Alabama, or Ohio.

Common first names for Character

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity Character U.S.
  White 22.50% 64.26%
  African American 76.25% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 0.00% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 0.00% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 0.00% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 0.00% 16.26%

Of Last Name Character

People with the last name Character are most frequently White or African American

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name Character

  • How Popular is the name Character? As a last name Character was the 62,531st most popular name in 2010.
  • When was the first name Character first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name Character is Tuesday, December 1st, 1942.
  • How unique is the name Character? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name Character. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
  • Weird things about the name Character: Your name in reverse order is Retcarahc. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Cecrahtar. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name Character? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 320 people with the last name Character.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Character? Chances are, most people haven't met someone with Character as their last name since less than 1 person in 909k people have that last name. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!

What Characters Have Visited This Page?

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.