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to mark or distinguish as a characteristic; be a characteristic of:
Rich metaphors characterize his poetry.
to describe the character or individual quality of:
He characterized her in a few well-chosen words.
to attribute character to:
to characterize him as a coward.
verb (transitive)
to be a characteristic of: loneliness characterized the place
to distinguish or mark as a characteristic
to describe or portray the character of

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; that of “to be characteristic” is from 1744. Related: Characterized; characterizing.


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  • Characteristic-curve

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  • Charcot

    Jean Baptiste Étienne Auguste [zhahn ba-teest ey-tyen oh-gyst] /ʒɑ̃ baˈtist eɪˈtyɛn oʊˈgüst/ (Show IPA), 1867–1936, French explorer. his father, Jean Martin [zhahn mar-tan] /ʒɑ̃ marˈtɛ̃/ (Show IPA), 1825–93, French neuropathologist. noun Jean Martin (ʒɑ̃ martɛ̃). 1825–93, French neurologist, noted for his attempt using hypnotism to find an organic cause for hysteria, which influenced Freud Charcot […]

  • Characteristic-function

    a function defined on a given set, having value 1 for every element of the set and value 0 for every element not contained in the set. characteristic polynomial. noun (maths) a function that assigns the value 1 to the members of a given set and the value 0 to its nonmembers (statistics) a function […]

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