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; sense of "to be characteristic of" is from 1744; that of "impart a special stamp or character to" is from 1807. Related: Characterized; characterizing.