Character Traits List & Examples

Character traits are the individual characteristics and qualities that make characters from books, stories, movies, plays, and other art forms come to life for readers.

Use the following list of character traits as a guideline when writing book reports and essays about the different characters you've read about. Don't stop with this list, though; you can probably think of many more terms to describe your characters.

Values, Morals, and Beliefs Character Traits

  • Honest
  • Brave
  • Compassionate
  • Leader
  • Courageous
  • Unselfish
  • Loyal
  • Hard-working
  • Independent
  • Selfish
  • Responsible
  • Considerate
  • Self-confident
  • Humble

Physical and Emotional Character Traits

  • Poor
  • Rich
  • Strong
  • Tall
  • Dark
  • Light
  • Handsome
  • Pretty
  • Ugly
  • Messy
  • Gentle
  • Wild
  • Joyful
  • Busy
  • Patriotic
  • Neat
  • Popular
  • Successful
  • Short
  • Prim
  • Proper
  • Dainty
  • Able
  • Fighter
  • Tireless
  • Plain
  • Expert
  • Imaginative
  • Conceited
  • Mischievous

Personality Character Traits

  • Demanding
  • Thoughtful
  • Keen
  • Happy
  • Disagreeable
  • Simple
  • Fancy
  • Plain
  • Excited
  • Studious
  • Inventive
  • Creative
  • Thrilling
  • Intelligent
  • Proud
  • Fun-loving
  • Daring
  • Bright
  • Serious
  • Funny
  • Humorous
  • Sad
  • Lazy
  • Dreamer
  • Helpful
  • Simple-minded
  • Friendly
  • Adventurous
  • Timid
  • Shy
  • Pitiful
  • Cooperative
  • Lovable
  • Ambitious
  • Quiet
  • Curious
  • Reserved
  • Pleasing
  • Bossy
  • Witty
  • Energetic
  • Cheerful
  • Smart
  • Impulsive
  • Humorous
  • Sad
  • Lazy
  • Dreamer
  • Helpful

Just like real people, literary characters have behaviors, attitudes, traits, and beliefs that give them a unique personality. These can be surface characteristics, like personality or physical traits - or they can be deeply-held values and morals. Writers develop characters with myriad traits to help readers build empathy or antipathy, relate to the narrative, create realism, and develop various plot points and storylines.

Looking for activities, lessons, and printables on character traits to use in your classroom? View all of our character trait resources here.

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