It's a sentence as an example under the entry "slam-bang" in Oxford Dictionary.
slam-bang: suddenly and forcefully or violently
I walked slam-bang into this character.
What does it mean?
Does the speaker really bump against somebody?
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The speaker really bumped against somebody.
There are a few quirks to this sentence. First, "character" is used to refer to an actual human standing in the way of the speaker. "Character" has many definitions (as you can see here), but the ones that I find relevant are:
- a person, esp. with reference to behavior or personality: a suspicious character.
- an odd, eccentric, or unusual person.
I believe the speaker uses "character" instead of "person" to express judgement on the person. They are suspicious or shady or just plain odd. It's also a way to keep the sentence all in the same tone. "Slam-bang" is something you would expect a 1920's gangster to say, and so is referring to a person as "character". "Get a load of this character, boss!"
... but maybe that's just me.
Anyway: Now that the confusion that in this case "character" really just means "person" is cleared up, it's also clear that "slam-bang" is an adverb modifying "walked". You could translate the whole sentence as "I walked suddenly and forcefully into this person."
I myself eventually found a may-be original resouce form which the sample sentence is selected. It's from a novel The Enemy:
He had a raw colonial accent. 'We don't move out of the UK much,' I said. 'Most of our work is counterespionage. This one is a bit different. If you can take me to George Ashton I'll buy you a case of Foster's.' Henty blinked. 'Good beer, that. How did you know I'm Australian? I've not been back for twenty years. Must have lost the accent by now.' I grinned. 'Yes, you've learned to speak English very well. Where's Ashton?' He went to the window and pointed at the Royal Palace. 'On the other side of that. In Gamla Stan.' Gamla Stan-the Old Town. A warren of narrow streets threading between ancient buildings and the 'in' place to live in Stockholm. Cabinet ministers live there, and film directors-if they can afford it. The Royal Palace is No. 1, Gamla Stan. I said, 'How did you find him?' 'I got a couple of crummy pictures from London, and the day I got them I walked slam-bang into this character on the Vasabron.' Henty shrugged. 'So it's a coincidence.' 'By the laws of statistics we've got to get lucky some time,' I observed. 'He has a flat just off Vasterlanggatan. He's passing himself off as a Russian called Fyodr Koslov-which is a mistake.' 'Why?' Henty frowned. 'It's a tip-off-enough to make me take the pictures and send them back. There's something funny about the way he speaks Russian-doesn't sound natural.' I thought about that. After thirty years of non-use Ashton's Russian would be rusty; it's been known for men to forget completely their native language.
From the context, I call tell the writer is saying "coincidentally met a certain person". At least in this example, it somewhat means that the writer "ran across a certain person" or more wildly speaking, "he bumped against the man in a sudden".