Etymology
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characterize (v.)

1590s, "to engrave, write," back-formation from characterization, or else from Medieval Latin characterizare, from Greek kharaktērizein "to designate by a characteristic mark," from kharaktēr (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.

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Definitions of characterize

characterize (v.)
describe or portray the character or the qualities or peculiarities of;
You can characterize his behavior as that of an egotist
This poem can be characterized as a lament for a dead lover
Synonyms: qualify / characterise
characterize (v.)
be characteristic of;
What characterizes a Venetian painting?
Synonyms: characterise
From wordnet.princeton.edu