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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 characterized

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 characterized

Contemporary Examples of characterized

Historical Examples of characterized

  • It was characterized as "a policy of which peace, progress and retrenchment were the watchwords."

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • Linda entered with exactly the same self-possession that characterized her at home.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • From the very beginning, the American people have been characterized by idealism.

  • The genus is characterized by awl-shaped spines which are distant at the base.

  • Our action is overmastered and characterized above our will by the law of nature.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

British Dictionary definitions for characterized



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 characterized



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