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Having or of an untrustworthy, dubious, or deceptive appearance. There are always a bunch of shifty-looking characters around this part of town at night, so let's not linger! I didn't feel great about the deal when John's shifty-looking business partner came along to sign the papers.

original character

The initial and/or intended meaning or state of something, especially if it has changed over time. Please be sure to keep the original character of the statement you are paraphrasing. I have to translate this story, and I have no idea if I'm capturing its original character. The renovations were done in keeping with the original character of the building.
See also: character

character assassination

Fig. seriously harming someone's reputation. The review was more than a negative appraisal of his performance. It was total character assassination.
See also: character

in character

Fig. typical of someone's behavior. For Tom to shout that way wasn't at all in character. He's usually quite pleasant. It was quite in character for Sally to walk away angry.
See also: character

out of character

1. unlike one's usual behavior. Ann's remark was quite out of character. It was out of character for Ann to act so stubborn.
2. inappropriate for the character that an actor is playing. Bill went out of character when the audience started giggling. Bill played the part so well that it was hard for him to get out of character after the performance.
See also: character, of, out

shady character

 and a suspicious character
Fig. an untrustworthy person; a person who makes people suspicious. There is a suspicious character lurking about in the hallway. Please call the police.
See also: character, shady

in character

Consistent with someone's general personality or behavior. For example, Her failure to answer the invitation was completely in character. This usage dates from the mid-1700s, as does the antonym, out of character, as in It was out of character for him to refuse the assignment.
See also: character

in character

Consistent with someone's general character or behavior: behavior that was totally in character.
See also: character

out of character

Inconsistent with someone's general character or behavior: a response so much out of character that it amazed me.
See also: character, of, out
References in periodicals archive ?
Justin said: "The Pop Idol lot are the most talentless and characterless people in the country.
He stood for humanism and exposed the characterless elite of his times.
We allow our suburbs to become characterless concrete expanses at a terrible cost to future generations.
An unreserved and uncovered temporary stand could not be any more different to Cardiff''s characterless new stadium.
I was horrified at what was a beautiful Victoria styled space had become a characterless desert devoid of any architectural sympathy with the beautiful buildings which frame it.
There appears to be no strategy for the Borough Road/Lower Balls Road area other than demolition; the once thriving shops and houses are now a wasteland of boarded-up buildings or characterless "green" space covered with rubbish and broken glass.
Do you want to halt this wave of destruction before this town degenerates into a characterless sprawl of featureless developments or do you want to hide and continue arguing with each other?
If so, a characterless performance of Milhaud's 1922 La CrAation du Monde was a disappointing start, missing much of the energy and wild humour of the composer's Harlem-derived jazz idiom.
FROM characterless chain pub to stylish eaterie, the Ewe and Lamb has undergone a massive transformation.
The depths of an author's talent is less represented by dialogue than by the descriptive passages that often come off as static, characterless narration when reproduced on stage.
The genteel, but streetwise Jamie Oliver has shown you don't have to be rude, controversial or characterless to whip up a good television meal.
The folk-flavoured finale Criminal has charm, but elsewhere the FX, heavy breathing and varisped vocals curdle into a characterless aural blancmange.
Mr (A Q) Khan is a characterless man," Musharraf told the German magazine when asked about the Pakistani nuclear scientist whom he had put under house arrest on charges of proliferation of nuclear technologies to rogue countries like North Korea and Iran.
I urge political parties to be careful in selecting their candidates, but in case, they are not able to do that, then the citizens of this country will unveil these dishonest, corrupt, characterless and illiterate as well as uneducated people.
If aesthetics came into it, of course, Edgbaston, with its characterless Hollies Stand and scaffolding-supported pavilion, would be fortunate to finish as high as eighth.