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[kar-ik-tuh-rahyz] /ˈkær ɪk təˌraɪz/
verb (used with object), characterized, characterizing.
to mark or distinguish as a characteristic; be a characteristic of:
Rich metaphors characterize his poetry.
to describe the character or individual quality of:
He characterized her in a few well-chosen words.
to attribute character to:
to characterize him as a coward.
Also, especially British, characterise.
Origin of characterize
1585-95; < Medieval Latin charactērizāre < Greek charaktērízein. See character, -ize
Related forms
characterizable, adjective
characterizer, noun
mischaracterize, verb (used with object), mischaracterized, mischaracterizing.
noncharacterized, adjective
recharacterize, verb (used with object), recharacterized, recharacterizing.
uncharacterized, adjective
well-characterized, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for characterised
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is characterised by the introduction of the pointed arch.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • It is characterised by the development of the drumless dome on pendentives.

    Byzantine Churches in Constantinople Alexander Van Millingen
  • The ceremonies were all characterised by a belief in some future state.

    Things as They Are Amy Wilson-Carmichael
  • The most noticeable thing about him is his voice, which is not easily to be characterised.

    The Romance Of Giovanni Calvotti David Christie Murray
  • It may be characterised as a collection of the Buffooneries of Sermons.

    The Book-Hunter

    John Hill Burton
  • Then he rang the bell with a vivacity which had not characterised him for many a month.

    The Young Duke Benjamin Disraeli
  • Few funerals have been characterised by greater impressiveness.

    The Hero of the Humber Henry Woodcock
  • James stared in the dull manner which characterised his reception of a joke.

  • These were characterised by over-cautious and minute legislation.

    St. John's College, Cambridge Robert Forsyth Scott
British Dictionary definitions for characterised


verb (transitive)
to be a characteristic of: loneliness characterized the place
to distinguish or mark as a characteristic
to describe or portray the character of
Derived Forms
characterizable, characterisable, adjective
characterizer, characteriser, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for characterised



1590s, "to engrave, write," back-formation from characterization, or else from Medieval Latin characterizare, from Greek kharakterizein "to designate by a characteristic mark," from kharakter (see character). Meaning "to describe the qualities of" is recorded from 1630s; that of "to be characteristic" is from 1744. Related: Characterized; characterizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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