characterize


characterize
characterize, distinguish, mark, qualify are comparable when they mean to be a peculiar or significant quality or feature of something.
Characterize stresses that quality or feature (or those qualities or features) which stands out and identifies the person or thing considered; often an obvious or striking feature rather than a fundamental or basic quality is implied
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metaphor characterizes the language of poetry— R. M. Weaver

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that mien of assured authority, of capacity tested in many a crisis, which characterized Mrs. Baines— Bennett

}
Distinguish (see also DISTINGUISH), on the other hand, stresses a feature, a quality, or a characteristic that makes a person or thing different from others or that sets him or it apart from and sometimes above others
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a peculiar sort of sweet pudding . . . distinguished the days of his coming— Lamb

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was distinguished for ignorance; for he had only one idea, and that was wrong— Disraeli

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once writers were a class apart, distinguished by ink-stained fingers, unkempt hair, and a predilection for drinking cheap wine in cellars— Uhlan

}
Mark (see also MARK vb) implies the presence of noteworthy qualities or features that are the outward signs of an inward character
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no triumph—no exaltation . . . marks her manner— Cowden Clarke

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are we so sure that the qualities that mark successful climbers—self-assertion, acquisition, emulation—are highly desirable?— Ellis

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Qualify (see also PREPARE, MODERATE) occasionally implies a quality, characteristic, or description that is attributed by the immediate writer or speaker to a person or thing as fitted to him or it
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the "Devil's drawing room," as some have qualified that wondrous place— Byron

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cannot qualify it as . . . either glad or sorry— T. S. Eliot

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Analogous words: *distinguish, differentiate, demarcate: individualize, peculiarize (see corresponding adjectives at CHAR-ACTERISTIC)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Characterize — Char ac*ter*ize, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Characterized}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Characterizing}.] [LL. characterizare, Gr. ?: cf. F. charact[ e]riser.] 1. To make distinct and recognizable by peculiar marks or traits; to make with distinctive features.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • characterize — I verb classify, construe, delineate, depict, descend to particulars, describe, designare, detail, diagram, differentiate, distinguish, draw, elucidate, exemplify, express precisely, formalize, give an account of, give precise meaning to, give… …   Law dictionary

  • characterize — (v.) 1590s, to engrave, write, formed in English or else from M.L. characterizare, from Gk. kharakterizein to designate by a characteristic mark, from kharakter (see CHARACTER (Cf. character)). Meaning to describe the qualities of is recorded… …   Etymology dictionary

  • characterize — (Amer.) char·ac·ter·ize || kærÉ™ktÉ™raɪz v. describe; be a characteristic of (also characterise) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • characterize — [v] typify, distinguish belong to, brand, button down*, constitute, define, delineate, describe, designate, differentiate, discriminate, feature, identify, indicate, individualize, individuate, inform, make up, mark, outline, peculiarize, peg,… …   New thesaurus

  • characterize — (also characterise) ► VERB 1) describe the distinctive character of. 2) (of a feature or quality) be characteristic of. DERIVATIVES characterization noun …   English terms dictionary

  • characterize — [kar′ək tər īz΄, kar′iktər īz΄] vt. characterized, characterizing [ML characterizare < Gr charaktērizein: see CHARACTER] 1. to describe or portray the particular qualities, features, or traits of 2. to be the distinctive character of;… …   English World dictionary

  • characterize */*/ — UK [ˈkærɪktəraɪz] / US [ˈkerəktəˌraɪz] verb [transitive] Word forms characterize : present tense I/you/we/they characterize he/she/it characterizes present participle characterizing past tense characterized past participle characterized 1) to be… …   English dictionary

  • characterize — also ise BrE verb (T) 1 to be typical of a person, place, or thing: Bright, vibrant colours characterize his paintings. 2 to describe the character of someone or something in a particular way; portray: characterize sb as sth: I would characterize …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • characterize — characterizable, adj. characterizer, n. /kar ik teuh ruyz /, v.t., 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… …   Universalium


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