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See more synonyms for characterize on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), char·ac·ter·ized, char·ac·ter·iz·ing.
  1. to mark or distinguish as a characteristic; be a characteristic of: Rich metaphors characterize his poetry.
  2. to describe the character or individual quality of: He characterized her in a few well-chosen words.
  3. to attribute character to: to characterize him as a coward.
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Also especially British, char·ac·ter·ise.

Origin of characterize

1585–95; < Medieval Latin charactērizāre < Greek charaktērízein. See character, -ize
Related formschar·ac·ter·iz·a·ble, adjectivechar·ac·ter·iz·er, nounmis·char·ac·ter·ize, verb (used with object), mis·char·ac·ter·ized, mis·char·ac·ter·iz·ing.non·char·ac·ter·ized, adjectivere·char·ac·ter·ize, verb (used with object), re·char·ac·ter·ized, re·char·ac·ter·iz·ing.un·char·ac·ter·ized, adjectivewell-char·ac·ter·ized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for characterize

portray, represent, outline, describe, mark, indicate, identify, symbolize, define, delineate, style, signalize, discriminate, stamp, brand, singularize, feature, pigeonhole, personalize, constitute

Examples from the Web for characterize

Contemporary Examples of characterize

Historical Examples of characterize

British Dictionary definitions for characterize



verb (tr)
  1. to be a characteristic ofloneliness characterized the place
  2. to distinguish or mark as a characteristic
  3. to describe or portray the character of
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Derived Formscharacterizable or characterisable, adjectivecharacterizer or 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

Word Origin and History for characterize


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper