Qual"i*ty (?), n.; pl. Qualities (#). [F. qualité, 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.

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.

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.

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