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

The uncanny maturity that made Sagan’s name as a novelist is most strongly in evidence in her astute portrayal of love as a psychical event that has its roots in family life and the early formation of personality. Rachel Cusk, The New Yorker, "Françoise Sagan, the Great Interrogator of Morality," 21 Aug. 2019 Colman, who is well-known for her roles on Fleabag and Broadchurch andmost recently won an Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite, appeared on the annual Queen’s birthday honors list for her services to drama. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Just Bestowed a Rare Honor on The Crown Actress Olivia Colman," 10 June 2019 Recently, a student in one such tutorial expressed admiration for notorious US serial killer Ted Bundy, even going as far as to say she was attracted to him—or at least Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron’s portrayal of him. Xanthe Mallett, Quartz, "‘True crime’ entertainment disrespects victims and their families—and it needs to stop," 17 Aug. 2019 Assi has a beef with the soap his wife watches in a swoon every day, especially in its unflattering portrayal of the Jewish general. Barbara Vandenburgh, azcentral, "‘Tel Aviv on Fire’ confronts Israeli-Palestinian conflict — through a soap opera," 31 July 2019 The comedian earned a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of a bank clerk who finds a magical mask that transforms him into a mischievous and over the top gangster. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Anna Nicole Smith Was Considered for Cameron Diaz's Role in Jim Carrey's Comedy The Mask," 29 July 2019 But, in her vivid portrayal of the frantic and sometimes futile efforts to find the right answers, Widdicombe does not give enough credit to perhaps the most reassuring figure of all: the pediatrician. Amos Barshad, The New Yorker, "The Mail," 7 June 2018 Fourth, the players are clearly peeved by Solo’s portrayal of them as weak-willed. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Reasons Why USWNT, U.S. Soccer Oppose Hope Solo's Presence at Their Mediation," 29 July 2019 Sean Hayden’s portrayal of Katherine’s fiance, an admittedly fuzzy character, is lacking in definition. Don Aucoin, BostonGlobe.com, "An enjoyable tale of transformation in North Shore Music Theatre’s ‘Freaky Friday’," 15 July 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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Statistics for portrayal

Last Updated

14 Sep 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 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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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).


to make a temporary encampment

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