char·​ac·​ter·​i·​za·​tion | \ ˌker-ik-t(ə-)rə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce characterization (audio) , ˌka-rik- \

Definition of characterization

: 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

Examples of characterization in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Craig Murphy, spokesman for Koop, said that characterization is unfair. James Barragán, Dallas News, "In Texas House rematch, Ramos says she’s a voice for working class, Koop says she’s too liberal," 9 Oct. 2020 All of those things are true, but the characterization isn’t entirely fair. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, "The Futility of Rolling Stone’s Best-Albums List," 2 Oct. 2020 Mark Sendak, a data scientist and leader on the project, says that incorrect characterization is an example of how Elish’s findings were more eye opening—and concerning—than expected. Tom Simonite, Wired, "AI Can Help Patients—but Only If Doctors Understand It," 2 Oct. 2020 Other officials within the White House disputed that characterization, arguing that the guidance was working its way through the normal review process. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "White House backs FDA coronavirus vaccine guidance, potentially slowing timeline," 6 Oct. 2020 But that characterization obscures the damage Walker inflicted during his time as governor. Emma Roller, The New Republic, "How Wisconsin Became a Bastion of White Supremacy," 5 Oct. 2020 In a phone interview, a senior Trump administration official disputed that characterization. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump administration’s new rapid coronavirus tests plagued by confusion and a lack of planning," 29 Sep. 2020 Joshua Green, a spokesman for the U.S. Census Bureau, disputed that characterization, saying the census operations are running well and will be completed on time. Heather Knight,, "SF census workers say they were told the counting was done. But the city tally is far from complete," 18 Sep. 2020 One person close to the firm disputed that characterization and said that over the past five years Bridgewater has made significant improvements to its processes. Katherine Burton, Fortune, "The losses continue to pile up for hedge fund king Ray Dalio," 15 Sep. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of characterization

1841, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for characterization

see character entry 1

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Time Traveler for characterization

Time Traveler

The first known use of characterization was in 1841

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Statistics for characterization

Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Characterization.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for characterization


How to pronounce characterization (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of characterization

somewhat formal : the act of describing the character or qualities of someone or something
: the way a writer makes a person in a story, book, play, movie, or television show seem like a real person

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