Hypertext Webster Gateway: "quality"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Quality \Qual"i*ty\, n.; pl. {Qualities}. [F. qualit['e], L.
qualitas, fr. qualis how constituted, as; akin to E. which.
See {Which}.]
1. The condition of being of such and such a sort as
distinguished from others; nature or character relatively
considered, as of goods; character; sort; rank.

We lived most joyful, obtaining acquaintance with
many of the city not of the meanest quality. --Bacon

2. Special or temporary character; profession; occupation;
assumed or asserted rank, part, or position.

I made that inquiry in quality of an antiquary.

3. That which makes, or helps to make, anything such as it
is; anything belonging to a subject, or predicable of it;
distinguishing property, characteristic, or attribute;
peculiar power, capacity, or virtue; distinctive trait;
as, the tones of a flute differ from those of a violin in
quality; the great quality of a statesman.

Note: Qualities, in metaphysics, are primary or secondary.
Primary are those essential to the existence, and even
the conception, of the thing, as of matter or spirit
Secondary are those not essential to such a conception.

4. An acquired trait; accomplishment; acquisition.

He had those qualities of horsemanship, dancing, and
fencing which accompany a good breeding.

5. Superior birth or station; high rank; elevated character.
``Persons of quality.'' --Bacon.

{Quality binding}, a kind of worsted tape used in Scotland
for binding carpets, and the like.

{The quality}, those of high rank or station, as
distinguished from {the masses}, or common people; the
nobility; the gentry.

I shall appear at the masquerade dressed up in my
feathers, that the quality may see how pretty they
will look in their traveling habits. --Addison.

Syn: Property; attribute; nature; peculiarity; character;
sort; rank; disposition; temper.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

adj 1: of superior grade; "choice wines"; "prime beef"; "prize
carnations"; "quality paper"; "select peaches" [syn: {choice},
{prime(a)}, {prize}, {select}]
2: of high social status; "people of quality"; "a quality
n 1: an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or
someone; "the quality of mercy is not
2: a degree or grade of excellence or worth: "the quality of
students has risen"; "an executive of low caliber" [syn: {caliber},
3: a characteristic property that defines the apparent
individual nature of something; "each town has a quality
all its own"; "the radical character of our demands" [syn:
{character}, {lineament}]
4: the distinctive property of a complex sound (a voice or
noise or musical sound); "the timbre of her soprano was
rich and lovely"; "the muffled tones of the broken bell
summoned them to meet" [syn: {timbre}, {timber}, {tone}]
5: high social status; "a man of quality"

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