char·​ac·​ter·​i·​za·​tion | \ˌker-ik-t(ə-)rə-ˈzā-shən, 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

As more and more real men have become caregivers — a Pew study found there were almost 2 million stay-at-home dads in 2012 — the characterization of fathers has accordingly changed., "The Movies That Get Fatherhood All Wrong — & The Ones That Get It Right," 13 June 2018 The characterization is certainly in keeping with others' perspectives of JFK Jr.'s undergrad life. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "This Revealing College Photoshoot Shows a Different Side of John F. Kennedy Jr.," 10 Aug. 2018 In fact, that characterization is close to dead wrong. Neil Swidey,, "How Democrats would be better off if Bill Clinton had never been president," 10 July 2018 Whether or not the characterization was ever fair, the Bluetooth headset was the accoutrement of smarmy business men talking loud on the phone in inappropriate places. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Apple's Airpods Are an Omen," 12 June 2018 But advocates' characterization of the rapper's choice in her pregnancy is disingenuous, and, at best, inaccurate. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "Why using Cardi B as a ‘pro-life’ symbol is disingenuous," 18 Apr. 2018 Guillory objected to the characterization of his relationship with Mayo and claimed defamation, false light invasion of privacy and negligent misrepresentation. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Three reasons Louisville players are unlikely to win lawsuit vs. NCAA," 11 July 2018 Pompeo, who traveled to North Korea and met with Kim Jong Un earlier this month, took issue with that characterization and suggested the North Koreans had been unresponsive in recent days. Laura Koran, CNN, "Pompeo raises possibility of new North Korea sanctions," 24 May 2018 In place of the 2001 movie’s comic antics, the 2018 version has filled in some great action, good characterization, and some new politics. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "There’s Something Different About the New Lara Croft," 20 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for characterization

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for characterization

The first known use of characterization was in 1841

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More Definitions for characterization



English Language Learners Definition of characterization

: 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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Comments on characterization

What made you want to look up characterization? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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