verb (used with object), char·ac·ter·ized, char·ac·ter·iz·ing.

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, 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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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)

to be a characteristic ofloneliness characterized the place
to distinguish or mark as a characteristic
to describe or portray the character of
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper