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List of Character Traits

My students are generally pretty perceptive when it comes to interpreting the motives and behaviors of characters. What they lack is an adequate vocabulary to appropriately describe the characters. I have used this list to help my students advance their character trait vocabularies, and I hope that it will help you too. Here is a list of mostly challenging character trait words. Some of these words are easily understood by most English language speakers; however, most of these words are challenging and unfamiliar to students. Use this list to help your students expand their character trait vocabulary.

View the List of Character Trait Words as a PDF
Edit the List of Character Trait Words as an RTF File


able-bodied

adoring

adventurous

ambitious

argumentative

arrogant

articulate

bashful

beautiful

bellicose

belligerent

bewildered

boastful

bright

brilliant

calculating

calm

cantankerous

cautious

classy

clever

compassionate

complacent

confident

conniving

conscientious

considerate

cooperative

cordial

courageous

cunning

curious

dainty

daring

dashing

dastardly

deceitful

decent

deceptive

defiant

delicate

determined

devious

devout

disagreeable

dreaded

dubious

duplicitous

dutiful

eager

efficient

eloquent

emphatic

encouraging

energetic

enterprising

enthusiastic

errant

expressive

extroverted

exuberant

facetious

faithful

fatigued

felicitous

flippant

forceful

forgiving

forthright

fortitudinous

fortunate

frustrated

garish

generous

gentle

giddy

glamorous

good-natured

gorgeous

graceful

gracious

grateful

gregarious

gullible

handsome

handy

hardy

harsh

helpful

homely

honest

honorable

hopeful

hospitable

hostile

humble

imaginative

immoral

impartial

imperial

impish

impulsive

indecisive

independent

intelligent

intolerant

intrepid

intriguing

introspective

introverted

inventive

jaded

jealous

jolly

jovial

jubilant

judgmental

just

juvenile

keen

kingly

knavish

knightly

knowledgeable

lackadaisical

lavish

lazy

lecherous

legendary

lethargic

lewd

liberal

lovable

loyal

malevolent

malicious

manipulative

materialistic

matronly

meek

melancholy

meritorious

meticulous

mischievous

monstrous

moronic

morose

munificent

narcissistic

naïve

nervous

neurotic

neutral

noble

nonchalant

nostalgic

nubile

nurturing

obese

obnoxious

obsequious

obsessed

obtuse

opinionated

optimistic

opulent

ornery

ostentatious

partisan

passive

patient

patriotic

penitent

perceptive

perfectionist

personable

pessimistic

pitiful

playful

pleasant

pompous

proud

prudent

punctilious

punctual

quaint

quarrelsome

quiet

quirky

quizzical

rambunctious

rancorous

rash

rational

reasonable

rebellious

reserved

resilient

respectful

responsible

reverent

rigid

rotund

rowdy

ruthless

saintly

sensible

sensitive

serious

shallows

sheepish

shrewd

sinister

slovenly

sociable

spontaneous

stately

staunch

stealthy

stern

strict

stubborn

studious

tenacious

terrifying

thoughtful

thrifty

timid

tolerant

treacherous

treasonous

truculent

trusting

uncouth

understanding

unfortunate

unscrupulous

unwise

vain

vehement

vengeful

versatile

vindictive

wasteful

willful

wise

xenophobic

youthful

zealous

 

 

Common Core State Standards Related to Characterizations

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3 – Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Expand to View All Common Core State Standards Related to Characterizations

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.3 – With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.3 – Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.3 – Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.7 – Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.3 – Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3 – Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.3 – Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3 – Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3 – Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.3 – Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3 – Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3 – Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

View Source
Common Core Lesson and Unit Plans
Understanding Common Core State Standards

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Characterization Project to Use with This List
Characterizations Worksheets
Characterization Unit Plans
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7 Comments

  1. Mark

     /  May 13, 2016

    This is a amazing and awesome website! Thank you very much!

    Reply
  2. Peggy

     /  April 5, 2016

    This is exactly what I was looking for — you saved me a lot of time and energy. THANK YOU.

    Reply
  3. earnestine

     /  December 18, 2014

    Awesome! I love you for this site.

    Reply
  4. jam

     /  November 30, 2013

    thank you very much for the effort you did here. it’s very helpful and easy to understand. I hope you will not stop for doing this. More power and God bless

    Reply
  5. Vicki Miller

     /  October 5, 2013

    WOW! I have been teaching for 19 years and it is about time that someone put all of this together! It is amazing and wonderful, wonderful. Thank you!!!

    Reply
  6. OMG! This is the best website I have come across that has lessons and worksheets that cover the CORE curriculum that we don’t have in our outdated textbooks. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Reply

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