In 5e, can “creature” and “character” be used interchangeably?


Creatures in 5e is a general term covering all living entities, from NPCs to PCs, wolves to level 20 gnome wizards. Monsters, characters, and NPCs are all creatures.

Monsters are creatures with a stat block, such as wolves.

Characters on the other hand appears to only refer to PCs with a character sheet, such a level 20 gnome wizards.

We also have NPCs, which are otherwise monsters, but the DM is using them to interact with the party socially.

I see some evidence of this in various sections. For example the proficiency bonus section states "Characters have a proficiency bonus determined by level, as detailed in "Step-By-Step Characters." Monsters also have this bonus, which is incorporated in their stat blocks."

This quote from the difficulty class rules states:

If the total equals or exceeds the DC, the ability check is a success–the creature overcomes the challenge at hand. Otherwise, it’s a failure, which means the character or monster makes no progress toward the objective or makes progress combined with a setback determined by the DM.

Are these definitions correct?