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
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 However, appliance manufacturers disagree with the portrayal of gas ranges as anything but a safe cooking technology. WSJ, "Induction Is Good, Cooking With Gas Is Also Very Safe," 5 May 2021 Prince Philip has been in the pop culture spotlight in recent years with his portrayal on Netflix’s The Crown. Emily Zemler, Rolling Stone, "Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Dies at 99," 9 Apr. 2021 In his brilliant portrayal of the revolutionary activist, Kaluuya stands toe-to-toe with his Get Out costar, Stanfield, who plays FBI informant William O'Neal. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Where to Watch Judas and the Black Messiah After Its History-Making Oscar Nominations," 16 Mar. 2021 As capable an actor as Julianne Moore struggled in the role, with her portrayal of Clarice in Ridley Scott’s sequel film Hannibal reading as merely flat rather than painfully reserved. Sean T. Collins, Vulture, "Clarice Series-Premiere Recap: Compliance of the Lambs," 11 Feb. 2021 Hopkins' first win in the category came in 1992 for his quintessential portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. Marcus Jones, EW.com, "Anthony Hopkins wins in shocking upset over Chadwick Boseman, becomes oldest Oscars acting winner," 26 Apr. 2021 Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman have moved audiences with their portrayal of father-daughter duo Anthony and Anne in The Father. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "Here’s Where to Watch and Stream the Oscar-Nominated Movie 'The Father'," 24 Apr. 2021 With his absolutely stunning portrayal of a man dealing with dementia, Hopkins would win this category, hands down, with one of his all-time best performances. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Oscar predictions: Who will win Sunday's Academy Awards – and who should," 23 Apr. 2021 Their portrayal of Alina is shaped by their own experience being biracial. Quinci Legardye, Marie Claire, "Who is Jessie Mei Li, Alina Starkov in 'Shadow and Bone'?," 23 Apr. 2021

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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Portrayal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portrayal. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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 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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