por·​tray·​al | \ pȯr-ˈtrā(-ə)l , pər-\

Definition of portrayal

1 : the act or process or an instance of portraying : representation
2 : portrait

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Examples of portrayal in a Sentence

his novel presents a moving portrayal of a woman searching for personal fulfillment and happiness

Recent Examples on the Web

Was everyone blind to the fact that this portrayal (or lack thereof) of Asians not only prevented Asian-Americans from being represented in the media, but also perpetuated harmful Asian stereotypes? Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "How "Crazy Rich Asians" Is Making History as a Romantic Comedy," 9 Aug. 2018 The #FirstTimeISawMe campaign -- which debuted last year with Black celebrities speaking on media portrayal -- will also include anecdotes by Jamie Clayton, Jazz Jennings, Elliott Fletcher and more. Shanté Honeycutt, Billboard, "Laura Jane Grace Reflects on the First Time She Saw Herself Represented in the Media: Watch," 13 June 2018 The portrayal is a perfect recreation of that moment. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Mayor of Ding Dong City' arrives Sunday, so let's take a look at the 12 best Brewers player bobbleheads thus far," 22 May 2018 Gina Gershon as Fabia in Ugly Betty (2006) Fabia, the cosmetics mogul/frenemy of Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams), might only be loosely based on Donatella — but the portrayal is absurdly satisfying. Randi Bergman, The Cut, "A Definitive Ranking of Donatella Versace Impressions," 18 Jan. 2018 Crazy Rich Asians is not a critique of whether or not this experience is good or bad, but instead of a genuine portrayal of what many people in this group go through. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""Crazy Rich Asians” Is a Win for Representation, Whether It’s “Your Story” or Not," 15 Aug. 2018 But ultimately my favorite kind of writing is this female portrayal of one’s life and one’s desires. Ryan Chapman, Longreads, "Your Best Work Comes from Scaring Yourself," 29 June 2018 Her account, piglet2plate, is an often uncomfortable yet authentic portrayal of a meat eater's desire to value the life of an animal that will become food as an alternative to eating meat from slaughterhouses. Author: Christine Cunningham, Anchorage Daily News, "What is a sport hunter? Words don’t always fit a person’s motivation," 26 Apr. 2018 Get our daily newsletter Real AI is nowhere near as advanced as its usual portrayal in fiction. The Economist, "AI in societyFor artificial intelligence to thrive, it must explain itself," 15 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'portrayal.' 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 portrayal

1843, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for portrayal

Last Updated

2 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for portrayal

The first known use of portrayal was in 1843

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More Definitions for portrayal



English Language Learners Definition of portrayal

: the act of showing or describing someone or something especially in a painting, book, etc.
: the way in which an actor plays a character


por·​tray·​al | \ pȯr-ˈtrā-əl \

Kids Definition of portrayal

: the act or result of showing in a portrait or describing in words or images The movie is an accurate portrayal of her life.

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