Usually opposed to quantity.

A quality is an intrinsic property, something that is part of its essence. For example, it is a quality of a chair that it can be used to sit on.

Quality as a mass noun or adjective refers to the extent to which something is good: a model instance of its kind. For example, a quality chair is very well suited to sit on, it doesn't fall apart easily, etc.

Quality is undefinable, but you know what it is. It is that property which separates a truly elegant solution to one that merely does the job. Quality should be the goal of every serious effort, as a result lacking in Quality is often useless or next to useless. A prerequisite for Quality work is a whole heap of gumption. Hang on to that gumption for dear life, lest you lose it, and thereby lose 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. Gray.

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.

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. Clarendon.

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.

 

© Webster 1913.

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