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characterize

[kar-ik-tuh-rahyz] /ˈkær ɪk təˌraɪz/
verb (used with object), characterized, characterizing.
1.
to mark or distinguish as a characteristic; be a characteristic of:
Rich metaphors characterize his poetry.
2.
to describe the character or individual quality of:
He characterized her in a few well-chosen words.
3.
to attribute character to:
to characterize him as a coward.
Also, especially British, characterise.
Origin
1585-1595
1585-95; < Medieval Latin charactērizāre < Greek charaktērízein. See character, -ize
Related forms
characterizable, adjective
characterizer, noun
mischaracterize, verb (used with object), mischaracterized, mischaracterizing.
noncharacterized, adjective
recharacterize, verb (used with object), recharacterized, recharacterizing.
uncharacterized, adjective
well-characterized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for characterize
  • The problem here is that plaintiffs have no incentive to characterize the settlement correctly.
  • Favorable financial terms characterize loans to professors and other employees made by colleges.
  • Concerning crude oil producer prices, four stages characterize their evolution.
  • Two important traits that characterize volcanoes are explosiveness and viscosity.
  • Your study was the first to characterize patterns of genetic diversity and natural selection in the elephant.
  • The answer lies in the extraordinarily vague laws that characterize the sprawling federal criminal code.
  • Two qualities characterize an academic administrator.
  • When enough sensor signals are available to characterize the current fire, a forecast is made.
  • Your online life is a bit harder to characterize but requires similar discretion.
  • Honesty, self control, and integrity characterize our leaders.
British Dictionary definitions for characterize

characterize

/ˈkærɪktəˌraɪz/
verb (transitive)
1.
to be a characteristic of: loneliness characterized the place
2.
to distinguish or mark as a characteristic
3.
to describe or portray the character of
Derived Forms
characterizable, characterisable, adjective
characterizer, characteriser, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for characterize
v.

1590s, "to engrave, write," back-formation from characterization, or else from Medieval Latin characterizare, from Greek kharakterizein "to designate by a characteristic mark," from kharakter (see character). Meaning "to describe the qualities of" is recorded from 1630s; that of "to be characteristic" is from 1744. Related: Characterized; characterizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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