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