A set of distinguishing aspects (including attributes and behaviours) of an object, material, living thing, system or event.

In Design and Technologies, the qualities of a material or object usually detected and recognised by human senses such as its colour, taste, texture, sound (for example, crunch of bread) and smell. The term also may relate to the form of a material, for example, ‘corrugated’ cardboard. These qualities are used by humans to select suitable materials for specific uses, for example, because they are appealing or suitable for their purpose. The characteristics of materials usually determine the way people work with the materials. Also see properties.

In Digital Technologies, for example, the characteristics of a stored digital graphic may be the colour depth (maximum number of colours represented), the resolution (number of pixels per area, or height and width) and the compression used.