Definition of characterize in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkarəktərʌɪz/
(also characterise)


[with object]
1Describe the distinctive nature or features of: she characterized the period as the decade of revolution
More example sentences
  • It's just not accurate to characterize newspaper design as anything but dynamic.
  • How could we characterise the nature of conflicts that have emerged throughout the world?
  • Some historians characterize Du Bois's thinking as riddled with contradiction.
distinguish, make distinctive, mark, set apart, identify, specify, signalize, indicate, denote, designate, stamp;
typify, pervade, permeate, suffuse
portray, depict, present, represent, describe, outline, delineate, show, draw, sketch;
categorize, class, classify, style, brand
2(Of a feature or quality) be typical or characteristic of: the disease is characterized by weakening of the immune system
More example sentences
  • Australian media organizations do not seem to have been characterized by enlightened personnel practices.
  • A predilection for forms over human figures characterises her work in installation art.
  • It was a social relationship characterized by an unequal distribution of power and resources.


Late 16th century (in the sense 'engrave, inscribe'): from French caractériser or medieval Latin characterizare, from Greek kharaktērizein, from kharaktēr 'a stamping tool'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: char|ac¦ter|ize

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