characterize

To characterize someone is to describe them in a certain way, to try to pin down his or her personality. If you say your dad is stingy, you are characterizing him as a miser.

See the word character in characterize? Two meanings of character can help you understand this word. We all have character, meaning we all have unique personalities. Also, characters are people in books, movies, plays, and TV shows. Characterizing has to do with summing up how a person acts in real life or is portrayed in a work of fiction.

Definitions of characterize
1

v be characteristic of

“What characterizes a Venetian painting?”
Synonyms:
characterise
Types:
individuate
give individual character to
define
determine the nature of
Type of:
differentiate, distinguish, mark
be a distinctive feature, attribute, or trait; sometimes in a very positive sense

v describe or portray the character or the qualities or peculiarities of

“You can characterize his behavior as that of an egotist”
“This poem can be characterized as a lament for a dead lover”
Synonyms:
characterise, qualify
Types:
differentiate, distinguish, mark
be a distinctive feature, attribute, or trait; sometimes in a very positive sense
stamp
reveal clearly as having a certain character
characterise
be characteristic of
Type of:
remember, think of
keep in mind for attention or consideration

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.