Definition of portrayal in US English:



  • 1A depiction of someone or something in a work of art or literature.

    ‘a realistic portrayal of war’
    • ‘The exhibition also contains some satirical portrayals of the British elite, which benefited from the salve trade, for example, Sir Foster Cunliffe by Yinka Shonibare of the U. K.’
    • ‘The author also portrays Margaret's husband John not as the militant Protestant of some portrayals, but very supportive of his wife.’
    • ‘Studies of the portrayal of accountants and accounting in novels, movies, humour and satire, have already commenced.’
    • ‘The book is an amusing and evocative portrayal of his journey and his encounters with Indian babudom and other normal Indians on the way.’
    • ‘Howe, though, went on to criticize both James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison for their evasive portrayal of Negro life.’
    • ‘The Greek middle classes fare not much better in Tsiolkas's simplistic, one-dimensional portrayal.’
    • ‘The authors discuss Ngugi's Marxist approach as it informs his portrayal of the postcolony (elitism, class formation, corruption).’
    • ‘The Roosevelt Myth is a devastating portrayal of FDR.’
    • ‘Best known for his controversial portrayal of the Kennedys, he had later in his career earned fame for a different subject.’
    • ‘She has created books that provide true and positive portrayals of Black historical figures, heritage, and experiences.’
    • ‘This book is a powerful portrayal of today's inner-city youth.’
    • ‘Many critics have lambasted the female characters in his plays as two-dimensional and unrealistic portrayals of subservient women.’
    • ‘"Growth of the Soil" is an Old Testament-style portrayal of stolid mountain dwellers.’
    • ‘Thus, the portrayal of the story became the most important aspect.’
    • ‘By combining complementary archeological, historical and ethnographic information, the author is, nevertheless, able to give a convincing portrayal of prehispanic Philippine chiefdoms.’
    • ‘Just as predictably, their basis for that outrage is a highly dishonest portrayal of what Forrest writes.’
    • ‘The $25,000 award and specially designed National Portrait Gallery medal honor individual excellence in presidential service and portrayal.’
    painting, picture, drawing, portrait, sketch, representation, depiction, study, rendering, artist's impression
    representation, characterization, depiction, description, delineation, presentation, study, evocation
    performance as, acting, playing, enacting, representation, interpretation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A description of someone or something in a particular way; a representation.
      ‘the media portrayal of immigration’
      • ‘Made in 1969, its portrayal of the Korean war was a thinly disguised reference to the contemporaneous conflict in Vietnam.’
      • ‘Stories of vengeance and realistic portrayals of contemporary life came into fashion around this time.’
      • ‘I had to cast aside my objections to the portrayal of some stereotypes.’
      • ‘This was known as the ' Jim Crow ' system, named after earlier caricature portrayals of blacks.’
      • ‘Individuals and organizations like the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation have made much of the lack of positive portrayals of gays in media.’
      • ‘A portrayal of modern American history as one vast and unending reactionary saga would be caricature of reality.’
      • ‘However, I would suggest you have some misconceived conceptions about the gentility of World War II, or certainly its portrayal to the public.’
      • ‘Other portrayals were more careful to attribute the whipping to judicial sentencing by a court, or just punishment for running away.’
      • ‘To be sure, the Jews in the movie (ie, pretty much everyone who ever appears on screen) receive a mostly even-handed portrayal.’
      • ‘Commercial portrayals of happy couples " present a pastoral utopia in which all rivals have been ruthlessly liquidated through a type of aesthetic genocide ".’
      • ‘In its portrayal of human relationships, it is in a league of its own.’
      • ‘Corporate sinners are seen as "safe" villains because their negative portrayal will not lead to significant minority group outrage.’
      • ‘The staff called Cheshire to complain because of the film's portrayal of President Bush.’
      • ‘I just don't see how denying that kind of portrayal can be anything other than a moral comment on homosexuality.’
      • ‘It makes television not only good television but it makes their portrayals more honest and real.’
      • ‘Without a doubt, Boys Don't Cry is the most devastating portrayal of violence done to women I have ever seen in a film.’
      • ‘However, it is extremely rare to encounter a genuine crazy hollering his or her sickness over the rooftops - despite what popular portrayal may suggest.’
      • ‘Put simply, the David against Goliath scenario does not necessarily represent an accurate portrayal of the real conflict.’
      • ‘Figure 5 is a portrayal of what we think is occurring.’
      • ‘What they usually do, however, is to sterilise debate with caricatured portrayals of evil, money-obsessed capitalists.’
    2. 1.2 An instance of an actor playing a part in a movie or play; a performance.
      ‘his portrayal of the title character’
      • ‘What saves the film, without doubt, is Ben Kingsley's portrayal of Fagin, which is brilliant.’
      • ‘Fans of Jude Law will not be disappointed, as his vivid portrayal of a unique character is memorable.’
      • ‘I know it isn't politically correct, but I was impressed at the convincing portrayal.’
      • ‘William Shatner won for his portrayal of Denny Crane in Boston Legal.’
      • ‘But the real star was José van Dam as Hans Sach, whose singing was always impressive and his portrayal dignified.’
      • ‘Cruise's cool detachment as he watches a killing that will happen really adds to the genuine feeling of his portrayal.’
      • ‘A little more delineation between the two sides of the character would have further advanced what was a fair portrayal.’
      • ‘The film was a close portrayal of the rise and fall of the stock market gangsters and insider dealers of the time.’
      • ‘The book has been inspiration for both Cavanagh's production and Dibblee's portrayal.’
      • ‘Jones provides a trenchant portrayal of a boy in desperate pursuit of his dreams.’
      • ‘Surprisingly, Paul Kaye as the erstwhile burglar Mike, give a relaxed and convincing portrayal of a working class intellectual.’
      • ‘His portrayal of a tortured child, brutally beaten into adult villainy gives depth to what is otherwise just your average mad, evil, genius hell-bent on destroying Earth.’
      • ‘Audiences are delighted by her portrayal of Brooks' crochety attitude.’
      • ‘However, it was Hope Brown's portrayal of the serial killer Lucius that dominated the proceedings.’
      • ‘Dench has been nominated for a best actress Oscar for her portrayal of British novelist Iris Murdoch's decline into Alzheimer's disease in the movie Iris.’
      • ‘For years George Cole has delighted TV and film audiences with his portrayal of cheeky conmen.’
      • ‘He was best known for his portrayal of fatherly roles in many TV dramas.’
      • ‘In the title role, Campbell Scott gives a wonderfully compelling portrayal.’
      • ‘Brown is a wonderful actor who has to fill some big shoes, and his portrayal of Viktor is both sympathetic and touching.’
      • ‘The portrayal of the characters was good I thought.’
      • ‘This is the best way I can praise this lady for a super portrayal.’
      • ‘Michael Schultz showed less refinement in his portrayal of William.’