in/out of character
1. Very typical of the way someone would normally speak or behave. I've come to realize that the selfishness and nasty comments are all pretty in character for him. A: "The last time I saw her, she was trying to hook up with Janet's boyfriend." B: "Yeah, that sounds in character, all right."
2. Consistent with the traits or characteristics assigned to the character that one plays, as in a film or play. Don't be afraid, sweetie. Daddy's just in character—he's pretending to be a bad man for his movie! As part of his method acting, he remained in character for the full nine months of filming.
out of character
1. Very unlike the way someone would normally speak or behave; uncharacteristic. That outburst was certainly out of character. Tom is usually very happy and laid back. I had no idea her grades were getting so low—that's so out of character for Jane.
2. Inconsistent with the traits or characteristics assigned to the character that one plays, as in a film or play. She is a consummate professional. She didn't even go out of character when a part of the set collapsed halfway through the scene. You're playing an 18th-century princess—saying "totally awesome" is a bit out of character, don't you think?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ˌin/ˌout of ˈcharacter(of somebody’s behaviour, etc.) of the kind you would/would not expect from them; characteristic/uncharacteristic: That unpleasant remark she made was quite out of character. ♢ ‘I’m sure it was Bill I saw from the bus. He was arguing with a police officer.’ ‘Well, that’s in character, anyway!’
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
Consistent with someone's general character or behavior: behavior that was totally in character.
out of character
Inconsistent with someone's general character or behavior: a response so much out of character that it amazed me.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.