Something unpleasant that should be endured because it will supposedly make you into a better person.

Usually used by people who consider themselves benevolent authority figures.

similar to what won't kill you makes you stronger
the army builds character

prison builds character

"The boys may not like going camping in the Sahara Desert but it's a good character building activity"
by X Ray July 7, 2004
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Any task, activity or event which is painful, humiliating, upsetting, violent or distressing to the person experiencing the said task, activity or event.

A sarcastic use of the phrase, as most people believe that the difficult events in our lives contribute the most to our character and personality. Sadly, pyschologists would tend to agree; Not for the better in many cases.
A:"My boyfriend just called. . . He's left me!"
B:" Really?"
A:" For my BROTHER!!!! (Sniff)"
B:"Well . . . It builds character, something like that. . . "
A:"Oh, go kiss a walrus!"
by D F Stuckey July 8, 2004
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A lie that you tell your kids that they can see through even before you finish the sentance.
You: "Shovelling snow builds - "
Kid: "yeah, yeah - give me the damn shovel!"
by Pitt Cairn July 9, 2004
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a euphemism for household chores or situations that suck major ass. any job that old man wants you to do so he do not have to get off his own ass.
dad, "hey, cleaning the dog pen out builds character"
dad, "you do not need heater. wear a coat to bed, it builds character"
by el guapo July 8, 2004
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The reasoning for choosing the hardest path (or what is presumed to be a hard path), which basically amounts to the person being presented with a decision being rewarded by becoming a "better person" (ambigous term) by the end of the path.
Going into politics builds character, since being economical with the truth is an essential life skill.
by Kung-fu Jesus July 7, 2004
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A phrase someone uses to describe something that they want you to do, but you realize it will require anguish or a lack of enjoyment on your part.
Going to camp builds character!

Killing your cat of 13 years may be gross, but it is something that has to be done and it builds character.
by Dan Drucker July 8, 2004
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Something that either your parents or grandparents or another memeber of your family tells you happens, but it actually doesn't. It's just to sucker you into doing the activity.
C'mon, help your grandmother adjust her girdle. It builds character!
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