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The rationale for lexical studies rests on the assumption that the most meaningful personality attributes tend to become encoded in language as single-word descriptors. We articulate some key premises of the lexical approach and then review a number of studies that have been conducted examining the factor structure of personality descriptors extracted from dictionaries. We compare lexical studies in English and 12 other languages, with attention to delineating consistencies between the structures found in diverse languages. Our review suggests that the Anglo-Germanic Big Five is reproduced better in some languages than in others. We propose some organizing rules for lexical factor structures that may be more generalizable than the contemporary Big-Five model. And, we propose several candidate structural models that should be compared with the Big Five in future studies, including structures with one, two, and three very broad factors, an alternative five-factor structure identified in Italian and Hungarian studies, and a seven-factor structure represented in Hebrew and Philippine studies. We recommend that in future studies more attention be paid to middle-level personality constructs and to examining the effects of methodological variations on the resulting factor structures.