A recent article casually mentioned “the big five personality traits” as if everyone was familiar with them. I wasn’t and had to look them up. They are:
Openness to experience – (inventive, curious versus consistent, cautious). Appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience.
Conscientiousness – (efficient, organized versus easy-going, careless). A tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; planned rather than spontaneous behavior.
Extraversion – (outgoing, energetic versus solitary, reserved). Energy, positive emotions, surgency (quickness and cleverness), and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others.
Agreeableness – (friendly, compassionate versus cold, unkind). A tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others.
Neuroticism – (sensitive/nervous secure/confident). A tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, or vulnerability.
These apparently are fairly well known, and are remembered by the acronym CANOE. They are broad categories and are too general for predicting specific behavior. For example, a person may be very high in “Openness to experience” yet not like to travel because of high “Neuroticism” with strangers.
You can read more about this in Wikipedia.