[ahy-den-ti-tee, ih-den-]

noun, plural i·den·ti·ties.

Nearby words

  1. identification parade,
  2. identification tag,
  3. identifier,
  4. identify,
  5. identikit,
  6. identity card,
  7. identity crisis,
  8. identity disorder,
  9. identity element,
  10. identity function

Origin of identity

1560–70; < Late Latin identitās, equivalent to Latin ident(idem) repeatedly, again and again, earlier *idem et idem (idem neuter of īdem the same + et and) + -itās -ity

Related formsnon·i·den·ti·ty, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for identity

British Dictionary definitions for identity


noun plural -ties

the state of having unique identifying characteristics held by no other person or thing
the individual characteristics by which a person or thing is recognized
Also called: numerical identity the property of being one and the same individualhis loss of memory did not affect his identity
Also called: qualitative identity the state of being the same in nature, quality, etcthey were linked by the identity of their tastes
the state of being the same as a person or thing described or claimedthe identity of the stolen goods has not yet been established
identification of oneself asmoving to London destroyed his Welsh identity
  1. that relation that holds only between any entity and itself
  2. an assertion that that relation holds, as Cicero is Tully
  1. an equation that is valid for all values of its variables, as in (xy)(x + y) = x ² – y ². Often denoted by the symbol ≡
  2. Also called: identity elementa member of a set that when operating on another member, x, produces that member x: the identity for multiplication of numbers is 1 since x .1 = 1. x = xSee also inverse (def. 2b)
Australian and NZ informal a well-known person, esp in a specified locality; figure (esp in the phrase an old identity)

Word Origin for identity

C16: from Late Latin identitās, from Latin idem the same

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

Word Origin and History for identity



c.1600, "sameness, oneness," from Middle French identité (14c.), from Late Latin (5c.) identitatem (nominative identitas) "sameness," from ident-, comb. form of Latin idem (neuter) "the same" (see identical); abstracted from identidem "over and over," from phrase idem et idem. [For discussion of Latin formation, see entry in OED.] Earlier form of the word in English was idemptitie (1560s), from Medieval Latin idemptitas. Term identity crisis first recorded 1954. Identity theft attested from 1995.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for identity




The set of behavioral or personal characteristics by which an individual is recognizable as a member of a group.
The distinct personality of an individual regarded as a persisting entity; individuality.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.