Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    The qualities which constitute the individual. See 130 Am. St. Rep. (111.) 288.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    The aggregate of the moral qualities which belong to and distinguish an individual person; the general resuit of the one's distinguishing attributes. That moral predisposition or habit, or aggregate of ethical qualities, which is believed to attach to a person, on the strength of the common opinion and report concerning him. The opinion generally entertained of a persen derived from the common report of the people who are acquainted with him. Smith v. State, 88 Ala. 73, 7 South. 52; State v. Turner, 36 S. C. 534, 15 S. E. 602; Fahnestock v. Sinte, 23 Ind. 238; State v. Parker, 96 Mo. 382, 9 S. W. 728; Sullivan v. State, 66 Ala. 48; Kimmel v. Kimmel, 3 Serg. & R. (Pa) 337, 8 Am. Dec. 672. Character and reputation are not synonymous terms. Character is what a man or woman is morally, while reputation is what he or she is reputed to be. Yet reputation la the estimate which the community has of a person's character ; and it is the belief that moral character is wanting in an individual that renders him unworthy of belief; that is to say, that reputation is evidence of character, and if the reputation is bad for truth, or reputation is bad in, other respects affecting the moral character, then the jury may infer that the character is bad and the witness not reliable. General character has always been proved by proving general reputation. Leverich v. Frank, 6 Or. 213. The word "character" no doubt has an objective and subjective import, which are quite distinct. As to the object, character is its quni-ity. As to man, it is the quality of his mind, and his affections, his capacity and temperament. But as a subjective term, certainly in the minds of others, one's character is the aggregate, or the abstract of other men's opinions of one. And in this sense when a witness speaks of the character of another witness for truth, he draws not upon his memory alone, but his judgment also. It is the conclusion of the mind of the witness, in summing up the amount of all the reports he has heard of the man, and declaring his character for truth, as held in the minds of his neighbors and acquaintances, and in this sense character, general character, and general report or reputation are the same, as held in the books. Powers v. Leach, 26 Vt. 278.