Character Trait Examples

Character traits are all the aspects of a person’s behavior and attitudes that make up that person’s personality. Everyone has character traits, both good and bad. Even characters in books have character traits. Character traits are often shown with descriptive adjectives, like patient, unfaithful, or jealous.

Types of Character Traits

The old expression that actions speak louder than words is very true when it comes to character traits. You learn about who people are and what their character traits are by watching how they interact with the world and paying attention to how they treat you and interact with people.

There are literally countless character traits that you can identify in others, and that you can identify in yourself.

Some character traits have to do with your underlying values or beliefs. Some examples of these types of character traits include:

  • Religious
  • Honest
  • Loyal
  • Devoted
  • Loving
  • Kind
  • Sincere
  • Ambitious
  • Satisfied
  • Happy
  • Faithful
  • Patient
  • Determined
  • Persistent
  • Adventurous
  • Homebody
  • Considerate
  • Cooperative
  • Cheerful
  • Optimistic
  • Pessimistic
  • Funny

Some character traits can be bad, and you may not want these traits associated with you. Some examples of these types of character traits include:

  • Dishonest
  • Disloyal
  • Unkind
  • Mean
  • Rude
  • Disrespectful
  • Impatient
  • Greedy
  • Angry
  • Pessimistic
  • Repugnant
  • Cruel
  • Unmerciful
  • Wicked
  • Obnoxious
  • Malicious
  • Grumpy
  • Quarrelsome
  • Caustic
  • Selfish
  • Unforgiving

A leader or person who likes to be in charge may have the following character traits:

  • Dominant
  • Confident
  • Persuasive
  • Ambitious
  • Bossy
  • Resourceful
  • Decisive
  • Charismatic
  • Authoritative
  • Enthusiastic
  • Bold
  • Proactive

Some character traits can be consciously developed, learned or acquired. For example, character traits that you may consciously choose to learn or adopt include:

  • Educated
  • Informed

Some character traits we associate with children include:

  • Playful
  • Zany
  • Active
  • Wild
  • Silly
  • Affectionate
  • Funny
  • Rough
  • Talkative
  • Rowdy
  • Smart
  • Fidgety
  • Shy
  • Lively
  • Impatient
  • Stubborn

Character Traits in Literature and Movies

In storybooks, novels and movies, there are often archetypes of characters. For instance, there might be a romantic hero, a strong leader or a heroine who needs to be rescued. Often, these characters in books or movies have certain classic traits that help you to identify what role they play in the story.

For example, some character traits that can be used to describe a heroic main character include:

  • Dauntless
  • Strong
  • Courageous
  • Reliable
  • Fearless
  • Daring
  • Tough
  • Brave

If a story character is a romantic interest, they may have the following traits:

  • Charming
  • Loving
  • Affectionate
  • Lovestruck
  • Charismatic

When describing a villain, or the story’s antagonist, it would be common to use these kinds of character traits:

  • Ugly
  • Evil
  • Cunning
  • Deceptive
  • Murderous
  • Psychotic

As you can see, there are literally hundreds of character traits that will add depth and dimension to any characters. You simply need to observe people in different settings to get a general idea of how certain people behave. This can help you to recognize positive or negative character traits.

For more options, see this list of personality trait words and their definitions.

Bring Your Characters to Life

By learning more about character traits through observation, you can develop richer characters in your writing that are more true-to-life, or even larger than life. Having well-developed characters in your writing will help the reader identify and/or sympathize with the character. Well-defined character traits will help make your characters seem more three dimensional.

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