Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To describe the qualities or peculiarities of: characterized the warden as ruthless.
  • transitive v. To be a distinctive trait or mark of; distinguish: the rash and high fever that characterize this disease; a region that is characterized by its dikes and canals.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To depict someone or something a particular way (often negative.)
  • v. To determine the characteristics of.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make distinct and recognizable by peculiar marks or traits; to make with distinctive features.
  • transitive v. To engrave or imprint.
  • transitive v. To indicate the character of; to describe.
  • transitive v. To be a characteristic of; to make, or express the character of.
  • transitive v. to identify the structure or nature of.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To impart a special stamp or character to; constitute a characteristic or the characteristics of; stamp or distinguish; mark; denote.
  • To describe the character or give an account of the qualities of; describe by distinguishing qualities.
  • To engrave, stamp, or imprint.
  • Also spelled characterise.
  • Synonyms To mark, designate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. be characteristic of
  • v. describe or portray the character or the qualities or peculiarities of

Etymologies

From Medieval Latin characterizare, from Ancient Greek χαρακτηρίζω (kharaktērizō, "to designate by a characteristic mark"), from χαρακτήρ (kharaktēr, "a mark, character"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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