[ verb im-pur-suh-neyt; adjective im-pur-suh-nit ]
See synonyms for: impersonateimpersonation on

verb (used with object),im·per·son·at·ed, im·per·son·at·ing.
  1. to assume the character or appearance of; pretend to be: He was arrested for impersonating a police officer.

  2. to mimic the voice, mannerisms, etc., of (a person) in order to entertain.

  1. to act or play the part of; personate.

  2. Archaic. to represent in personal or bodily form; personify; typify.

adjectiveArchaic or Literary.
  1. embodied in a person; invested with personality.

Origin of impersonate

First recorded in 1615–25; im-1 + person + -ate1

Other words from impersonate

  • im·per·son·a·tion [im-pur-suh-ney-shuhn], /ɪmˌpɜr səˈneɪ ʃən/, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use impersonate in a sentence

  • Watch now for the glowing hands of the killer—the man who has been impersonating the Eye ever since Carlson was killed.

  • See the ideal and ethereal being whom you have been so faithfully impersonating all the afternoon!

  • Not far from Tantalus is Salmoneus, also a king, who dared to challenge the gods by impersonating Jupiter.

  • His career had been a long one of varied villainy, he impersonating alternately a parson and a rich shipowner.

    Windjammers and Sea Tramps | Walter Runciman
  • She heard the murmur that arose when Philip started to capture the exquisite golden creature she was impersonating.

    A Girl Of The Limberlost | Gene Stratton Porter

British Dictionary definitions for impersonate


/ (ɪmˈpɜːsəˌneɪt) /

  1. to pretend to be (another person)

  2. to imitate the character, mannerisms, etc, of (another person)

  1. rare to play the part or character of

  2. an archaic word for personify

Derived forms of impersonate

  • impersonation, noun
  • impersonator, noun

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