Note: Character by any other name

Note

Okay, this is going to sound weird but I often misspell the word character.

It’s not a hard word, right. It’s not a tricky word. But I can misspell it every which way. 

Character (yes, I’m really trying not to misspell it here) has a lot of history. It entered the English language in the early 14th Century, from the Old French caractere.

The Old French word had come from the Latin character, which had come from Greek kharakter.

Technically the Greek kharakter means engraved mark, as well as symbol or imprint on the soul. The Greek word came from kharassein (to engrave) and kharax (pointed stake) plus the root gher (to scrape, scratch).

Its meaning was extended by metaphor to a defining quality in the 1500s.

Its sense of person in a play or novel was first attested in the 1660s.


Older Post Newer Post