If you like the way an actor played the role of Abraham Lincoln, you might praise his portrayal of the sixteenth president.

Use the noun portrayal to describe the representation of someone, either in the form of a dramatic character, a spoken description, or even a photograph or painting of the person. You can also talk about the portrayal of an object or idea: "Dorothea Lange's photographs are an accurate portrayal of the Great Depression." The Old French word portraire, "to draw or trace," is the root of portrayal.

Definitions of portrayal
  1. noun
    any likeness of a person, in any medium
    synonyms: portrait
    see moresee less
    a portrait showing the body from only the waist up
    a portrait of yourself created by yourself
    type of:
    likeness, semblance
    picture consisting of a graphic image of a person or thing
  2. noun
    a word picture of a person's appearance and character
  3. noun
    acting the part of a character on stage; dramatically representing the character by speech and action and gesture
    synonyms: characterisation, characterization, enactment, personation
    see moresee less
    show 10 types...
    hide 10 types...
    an impressionistic portrayal of a person
    character, part, persona, role, theatrical role
    an actor's portrayal of someone in a play
    bit part, minor role
    a small role
    a serious (or tragic) role in a play
    the principal character in a play or movie or novel or poem
    the role of an innocent artless young woman in a play
    name part, title role
    the role of the character after whom the play is named
    the main good female character in a work of fiction
    baddie, villain
    the principal bad character in a film or work of fiction
    a brief appearance by a well-known actor in a movie or play
    type of:
    acting, performing, playacting, playing
    the performance of a part or role in a drama
  4. noun
    a representation by picture or portraiture
    synonyms: depicting, depiction, portraying
    see moresee less
    a faithful depiction or reflection
    type of:
    representational process
    any basic cognitive process in which some entity comes to stand for or represent something else
  5. noun
    representation by drawing or painting etc
    synonyms: delineation, depiction
    see moresee less
    the activity of making portraits
    type of:
    pictorial representation, picturing
    visual representation as by photography or painting
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week