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 His characterization of a stubborn man is subtle, oftentimes humorous, and heartbreaking. Robert English,, 10 Nov. 2022 There’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the personality type that conflates their core characterization with shyness, which is simply inaccurate. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 5 Nov. 2022 Their implementation has lent credence to his characterization. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 20 Oct. 2022 Panahi is one of Iran’s most controversial filmmakers, known for the depth and warmth of his characterization and his fearless critique of his country’s regime. Francine Prose, The New York Review of Books, 19 Oct. 2022 Demings angrily rejected his characterization, noting the buildings were named after police officers who died in the line of duty. Adriana Gomez Licon,, 18 Oct. 2022 His characterization as Doaker — the chief living repository of memory for the fractured family, in whose home the play unfolds — is vibrantly inhabited, his every line delivered with a balance of weary experience and wry wisdom. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Oct. 2022 Amazon was smart in scheduling Mammals for this week, because in structure and characterization, the show is very, very close to being a WASP-y take on Fleishman Is in Trouble, launching next week on Hulu. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Nov. 2022 Ragnarök’s writing and characterization push very hard in an attempt to achieve the same kind of heartstring-tugging moments of growth and understanding between Kratos and Atreus that the last game achieved effortlessly. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 3 Nov. 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 9 Dec. 2022.

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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