char·​ac·​ter·​i·​za·​tion ˌker-ik-t(ə-)rə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce characterization (audio)
: the act of characterizing
especially : the artistic representation (as in fiction or drama) of human character or motives
the author's characterization of the boy as someone who wanted to be accepted by others

Example Sentences

The reporter was criticized for his characterization of the people of the town as poor and uneducated. News reporting requires accurate characterization. The class discussed the author's characterization of the boy as someone who wanted to be accepted by others. The story has good characterization.
Recent Examples on the Web Moore has defended his record and rejected the characterization of his department by some critics as being particularly violent, saying the number of deadly encounters is down from years past through various policies and training. Libor Janystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 11 Jan. 2023 The Texas Department of Criminal Justice disputed the characterization, saying media witnesses to the execution also did not describe it as botched. Dakin Andone, CNN, 16 Dec. 2022 Christinat denies the characterization of the meetings that employees say feel like intimidation. WIRED, 2 Dec. 2022 The church vehemently denied the report’s characterization of the incident. Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, 1 Dec. 2022 In an interview, Dobos denied the characterization of the dispute laid out in the judge’s ruling. Jake Zuckerman, cleveland, 25 Oct. 2022 The film is constructed as a series of scenes that cut from one place to another, even jumping ahead just a few minutes or hours, and the characterization of Lydia Tár is similarly disjointed. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 12 Oct. 2022 Lally disputed Jackson’s characterization of the testimony. John R. Ellement,, 3 Oct. 2022 The characterization is supported by Loertscher who said these efforts ultimately need the full support of the administration to be fully effective. ABC News, 28 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'characterization.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


see character entry 1

First Known Use

1841, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of characterization was in 1841

Dictionary Entries Near characterization

Cite this Entry

“Characterization.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


char·​ac·​ter·​i·​za·​tion ˌkar-ik-tə-rə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce characterization (audio)
: the act of characterizing
: the creation of characters (as in a book or play)
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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