A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 1617, 1616

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 1617, 1616

Qua'lity. n.s. [qualitas, Lat. qualitè, Fr.]

  1. Nature relatively considered.

    These, being of a far other nature and quality, are not so strictly or everlastingly commanded in scripture. Hooker.

    Other creatures have not judgment to examine the quality of that which is done by them, and therefore in that they do, they neither can accuse nor approve themselves. Hooker.

    Since the event of an action usually follows the nature or quality of it, and the quality follows the rule directing it, it concerns a man, in the framing of his actions, not to be deceived in the rule. South.

    The power to produce any idea in our mind, I call quality of the subject, wherein that power is. Locke.

  2. Property; accident.

    In the division of the kingdom, it appears not which of the dukes he values most; for qualities are so weighed, that curiosity in neither can make choice of either's moiety. Shak.

    No sensible qualities, as light and colour, heat and sound, can be subsistent in the bodies themselves absolutely considered, without a relation to our eyes and ears, and other organs of sense: these qualities are only the effects of our sensation, which arise from the different motions upon our nerves from objects without, according to their various modification and position. Bentley.

  3. Particular efficacy.

    O, mickle is the powerful grace, that lies
    In plants, herbs, stones, and their true qualities.

  4. Disposition; temper.

    To-night we'll wander through the streets, and note
    The qualities of people.
    Shakesp. Ant. and Cleopatra.

  5. Virtue or vice.

    One doubt remains, said I, the dames in green,
    What were their qualities, and who is their queen?

  6. Accomplishment; qualifications.

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

  7. Character.

    The attorney of the dutchy of Lancaster partakes of both qualities, partly of a judge in that court, and partly of an attorney general. Bacon's Advice to Villiers.

    We, who are hearers, may be allowed some opportunities in the quality of standers-by. Swift.

  8. Comparative or relative rank.

    It is with the clergy, if their persons be respected, even as it is with other men; their quality many times far beneath that which the dignity of their place requireth. Hooker.

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

    The masters of these horses may be admitted to dine with the lord lieutenant: this is to be done, what quality soever the persons are of. Temple.

  9. Rank; superiority of birth or station.

    Let him be so entertained, as suits with gentlemen of your knowing to a stranger of his quality. Shakesp. Cymbeline.

  10. Persons of high rank. Collectively.

    I shall appear at the masquerade dressed up in my feathers, that the quality may see how pretty they will look in their travelling habits. Addison's Guardian, № 112.

    Of all the servile herd, the worst is he,
    That in proud dullness joins with quality,
    A constant critick at the great man's board,
    To fetch and carry nonsense for my lord.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra (57) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Bentley, Richard (57) · Clarendon, Edward (73) · Shakespeare's Cymbeline (73) · Dryden, John (788) · Hooker, Richard (175) · Shakespeare's King Lear (144) · Locke, John (269) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (46) · South, Robert (158) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Temple, William (54)

Attributes: French (385) · Latin (690) · Noun Substantive (1269)

Search for this word in: American Heritage · Cambridge · Dictionary.com · The Free Dictionary · Longman · Merriam-Webster · OneLook · Oxford Dictionaries · Vocabulary.com · Wiktionary · Wordnik

Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Quality." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: January 30, 2014. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/quality/.

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