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

Attorneys for the city and the state commission’s executive director, Steven Marks, vigorously disputed the characterization. oregonlive, "Judge throws out Fontaine Bleau’s discrimination suit against city of Portland, state liquor control commission," 6 Sep. 2019 Atwood deftly balances her three narrators as her plot hurtles forward, but her characterization is lacking. David Canfield,, "The Handmaid's Tale," 3 Sep. 2019 Although there is some truth in what the critics assert, their characterization is not entirely fair. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "Putin flexes as ‘good czar,’ but can he remake Russia?," 1 July 2019 Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, dismissed Kaul's characterization of the situation, which blames Republican lawmakers for the standoff. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Hundreds of millions' at stake if GOP lawmakers and attorney general don't agree soon, Josh Kaul says," 10 Sep. 2019 In addition, city officials disputed in court documents the lawsuit’s characterization of the internal city investigation of Johnson’s religious discrimination claims. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego paying out $565K to settle religious discrimination case," 9 Sep. 2019 Fortunately, the film‘s team really took to the book and used its rich descriptions and characterizations to inform their performances. David Canfield,, "The Goldfinch cast talks being 'obsessed' with Donna Tartt's award-winning novel," 9 Sep. 2019 For starters, the storytelling is often clumsy, the characterizations thin and other contributions trite (see, for example, the numbingly sappy musical score punching every emotional cue to pulp). Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Sweetness in the Belly': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 6 Sep. 2019 Manganiello’s Sonny is a highlight of this movie year — the most credible sports characterization by an actor since Bernie Mac in Mr. 3000. Armond White, National Review, "Bottom of the 9th: Sympathy for the Underdog," 6 Sep. 2019

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

14 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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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