Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

characterize - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] characterize pronunciation in American English /ˈkerəktəˌraɪz/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlecharacterizing
past tensecharacterized
past participlecharacterized
  1. 1
    to describe someone or something as a particular type of person or thing
    characterize someone/something as something: The military is usually characterized as being very conservative.
  2. 2
    to be a typical quality or feature of someone or something
    the rice fields and temples that characterize the island
    be characterized by something (=have something as a typical quality or feature): The 1980s were characterized by high inflation and high unemployment.


a fashion trend in which people intentionally wear ordinary, inexpensive, widely-available clothing

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a flower or small bunch of flowers worn on the lapel of a jacket on special occasions

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog