• synonyms


[kar-ik-ter-uh-zey-shuhn, -truh-zey-]
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  1. portrayal; description: the actor's characterization of a politician.
  2. the act of characterizing or describing the individual quality of a person or thing.
  3. the creation and convincing representation of fictitious characters, as in a literary work.
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Origin of characterization

1560–70; < Medieval Latin charactērizāt(us) marked (past participle of charactērizāre to characterize; see -ate1) + Latin -iōn- -ion
Related formsre·char·ac·ter·i·za·tion, nounself-char·ac·ter·i·za·tion, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for characterizations

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It was as if she had flattered him by her characterizations.

    The Plunderer

    Roy Norton

  • The characterizations will fit well Nerva, Trajan, and Hadrian.

    Historical Essays

    James Ford Rhodes

  • The trend of his characterizations was towards the cruelty in mankind.

    Nat Goodwin's Book

    Nat C. Goodwin

  • In most of these characterizations she has succeeded in making a deep impression.


    Carl Van Vechten

  • The style is clear and vigorous, and the characterizations are extremely vivid.

    The Story of Norway

    Hjalmar H. Boyesen

British Dictionary definitions for characterizations



  1. description of character, traits, etc
  2. the act of characterizing
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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

Word Origin and History for characterizations



1560s, "marking out of a precise form;" see characterize + -ation. Meaning "description of essential features" is from 1814.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper