Online Encyclopedia

CHARACTER (Gr. xapareri7p, from xap&c...

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 856 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHARACTER (Gr. xapareri7p, from xap&crew, to scratch), a distinctive mark (spelt " caracter " up to the 16th century, with other variants); so applied to symbols of notation or letters of the alphabet; more figuratively, the distinguishing traits of anything, and particularly the moral and mental qualities of an individual human being, the sum of those qualities which distinguish him as a personality. From the latter usage " a character " becomes almost identical with " reputation "; and in the sense of " giving a servant a character," the word involves a written testimonial. For the law relating to servants' char- acters see MASTER AND SERVANT. A further development is the use of " character " to mean an " odd or eccentric person "; or of a " character actor, to mean an actor who plays a highly-coloured strange part. The word is also used as the name of a form of literature, consisting of short descriptions of types of character. Well-known examples of such " characters " are those of Theophrastus and La Bruyere, and in English, of Joseph Hall (1574–1656) and Sir Thomas Overbury.
End of Article: CHARACTER (Gr. xapareri7p, from xap&crew, to scratch)
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