por·​tray·​al | \ pȯr-ˈtrā(-ə)l How to pronounce portrayal (audio) , pər- \

Definition of portrayal

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

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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 Speaking with GQ last week, Giamatti revealed that Durham influenced the portrayal of his character too. Carlin Becker, Washington Examiner, "'He's a tough guy': Actor Paul Giamatti says 'hardass' John Durham helped inspire Billions character," 4 May 2020 Corenswet and Picking play like interchangeable Clark Kent-a-likes, and the latter’s duncy portrayal of Rock Hudson is practically character assassination. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Hollywood review: Ryan Murphy's showbiz dramedy splits EW's critics," 29 Apr. 2020 But the portrayal of liberation in some of their memoirs reveals that the end of the Holocaust opened new wounds. New York Times, "For Some Holocaust Survivors, Even Liberation Was Dehumanizing," 28 Apr. 2020 This character has always been portrayed as a white man, but Villeneuve changed the portrayal for his rendition. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Here's Your First Look at Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, and More in Dune," 13 Apr. 2020 Lee draws from the negative portrayals of Chinese capital to shed light on the practices in Zambia. Simon Manda, Quartz Africa, "Chinese capital investments in Africa are smaller but more influential than UK or France," 25 Mar. 2020 The actors delivered ‘‘perhaps the most compelling and compassionate portrayals of lesbians on television,’’ wrote Boston Globe arts critic Ed Siegel. Harrison Smith, BostonGlobe.com, "Paula Kelly, Emmy-nominated actress, dancer, and singer, dies at 77," 14 Feb. 2020 Much better is the portrayal of Vietnam vets still working through issues of guilt, PTSD and alienation. Mark Kennedy, Detroit Free Press, "‘Last Full Measure’ fumbles its proud mission," 23 Jan. 2020 Composers like Pauline Viardot allow us to flip the script on the portrayal of strong women and breathe new life into the genre. Amy Lorette Damron Kyle, Quartz, "The feminist reboot opera deserves," 20 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for portrayal

Time Traveler

The first known use of portrayal was in 1843

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Statistics for portrayal

Last Updated

10 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Portrayal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portrayal. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for portrayal


How to pronounce portrayal (audio)

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 How to pronounce portrayal (audio) \

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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