A series of characters manipulated as a group. A character string differs from a name in that it does not represent anything -- a name stands for some other object.
A character string is often specified by enclosing the characters in single or double quotes. For example, WASHINGTON would be a name, but 'WASHINGTON' and "WASHINGTON" would be character strings.
The length of a character string is usually the number of characters in it. For example, the character string "WASHINGTON" has a length of 10 (the quote marks are not included). Some programs, however, mark the beginning or end of a character string with an invisible character, so the length might actually be one greater than the number of characters.