From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

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.
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            We lived most joyful, obtaining acquaintance with
            many of the city not of the meanest quality. --Bacon
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   2. Special or temporary character; profession; occupation;
      assumed or asserted rank, part, or position.
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            I made that inquiry in quality of an antiquary.
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   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.
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   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.
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   4. An acquired trait; accomplishment; acquisition.
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            He had those qualities of horsemanship, dancing, and
            fencing which accompany a good breeding.
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   5. Superior birth or station; high rank; elevated character.
      "Persons of quality." --Bacon.
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   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.
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            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.
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   Syn: Property; attribute; nature; peculiarity; character;
        sort; rank; disposition; temper.
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