Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[ahy-den-tuh-fahy, ih-den-] /aɪˈdɛn təˌfaɪ, ɪˈdɛn-/
verb (used with object), identified, identifying.
to recognize or establish as being a particular person or thing; verify the identity of:
to identify handwriting; to identify the bearer of a check.
to serve as a means of identification for:
His gruff voice quickly identified him.
to make, represent to be, or regard or treat as the same or identical:
They identified Jones with the progress of the company.
to associate in name, feeling, interest, action, etc. (usually followed by with):
He preferred not to identify himself with that group.
Biology. to determine to what group (a given specimen) belongs.
Psychology. to associate (one or oneself) with another person or a group of persons by identification.
verb (used without object), identified, identifying.
to associate oneself in feeling, interest, action, etc., with a specified group or belief system (usually followed by as or with):
He identifies as bisexual. She identifies with feminism. My family identifies Hispanic.
to experience psychological identification:
The audience identified with the play's characters.
Origin of identify
1635-45; < Medieval Latin identificāre, equivalent to identi(tās) identity + -ficāre -fy
Related forms
identifiable, adjective
identifiability, identifiableness, noun
identifier, noun
overidentify, verb, overidentified, overidentifying.
preidentify, verb (used with object), preidentified, preidentifying.
reidentify, verb (used with object), reidentified, reidentifying.
unidentifiable, adjective
unidentifiably, adverb
unidentified, adjective
unidentifying, adjective
well-identified, adjective
1. distinguish, place, know, determine. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for unidentifiable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was as unidentifiable as would be a shot escaping back into a bag of its fellows.

    That Last Waif Horace Fletcher
  • My best razors are, of course, at the bottom of some unidentifiable trunk.

    The Trimmed Lamp

    O. Henry
  • Some quality in the man—his manner of speech, the tone of his laugh, or that faint, unidentifiable taint—made him uneasy.

  • Investigate and you find chunks of carrot and other unidentifiable material, and now and then a bit of mysterious meat.

    A Yankee in the Trenches R. Derby Holmes
  • Mr. Chitterwick began to tremble and he blinked furiously, reaching out and finding flesh, cold and hard, unidentifiable.

    Elegy Charles Beaumont
  • Like the Tank Site, both these elements were rare, especially shell, which is known only through two unidentifiable fragments.

  • In due course "Skilly" presented an absentee and unidentifiable spouse with five bouncing baby kittens.

  • In one, we have St. John in the isle of Patmos; and in the other, an unidentifiable figure kneeling in prayer.

    Book-Plates William J. Hardy
  • She caught glimpses of glitter and tinsel, wheels and fragments of unidentifiable toys.

    The Christmas Angel Abbie Farwell Brown
British Dictionary definitions for unidentifiable


verb (mainly transitive) -fies, -fying, -fied
to prove or recognize as being a certain person or thing; determine the identity of
to consider as the same or equivalent
(also intransitive) often foll by with. to consider (oneself) as similar to another
to determine the taxonomic classification of (a plant or animal)
(psychol) (intransitive) usually foll by with. to engage in identification
Derived Forms
identifiable, adjective
identifiably, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for unidentifiable

1859, from un- + identifiable.



1640s, "regard as the same," from French identifier, from identité (see identity). Sense of "recognize" first recorded 1769. Meaning "make one (with), associate (oneself)" is from 1780. Sense of "serve as means of identification" is attested by 1886. Related: Identified; identifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for unidentifiable

Word Value for unidentifiable

Scrabble Words With Friends