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

Netflix's first Indian original series, Sacred Games, is facing a legal case over its controversial portrayal of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Nyay Bhushan, The Hollywood Reporter, "Netflix Series Faces Legal Case Over Portrayal of Ex-India Prime Minister," 13 July 2018 His larger-than-life portrayals of African-Americans (both famous and anonymous) radiate substance, presence, and agency. Deanna Isaacs, Chicago Reader, "Charles White finally gets his due with a retrospective at the Art Institute," 3 July 2018 Hollywood has generally been kind of nonchalant about its portrayal of marijuana use on the screen. Ed Symkus, BostonGlobe.com, "Pot’s legal in Massachusetts, so celebrate with some stoner flicks.," 28 June 2018 Wilder’s account, with its racist portrayal of Native Americans and sureness of the family’s right to land, is part of the narrative being overturned in the museum below. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "Gateway to what?," 28 June 2018 In court documents, LaMark Muir’s former colleagues disputed her portrayal of the department and denied all allegations of discrimination and harassment. Matthew Ormseth, courant.com, "Hartford Settles Lawsuit Alleging Culture Of Sexual Harassment, Discrimination Within Police Department," 28 June 2018 There’s also his portrayal of Egyptian band leader Tewfiq in The Band’s Visit, the highly acclaimed stage adaption of the 2007 Israeli film. Gabriella Paiella, The Cut, "I Simply Love Tony Shalhoub," 19 June 2018 Lenehan said in bringing Edna Turnblad to the stage, his portrayal was inspired, in part, by his mother. Megann Horstead, chicagotribune.com, "'It’s been over the moon': OPRF students embrace experience at llinois High School Musical Theatre Awards," 12 June 2018 Widespread admiration for her portrayal was clear on Monday after news broke that Kidder had died over the weekend. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Celebrities pay tribute to Margot Kidder," 14 May 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

14 Sep 2018

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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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Comments on portrayal

What made you want to look up portrayal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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