• synonyms


[verb im-pur-suh-neyt; adjective im-pur-suh-nit, -neyt]
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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.
  3. to act or play the part of; personate.
  4. Archaic. to represent in personal or bodily form; personify; typify.
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  1. embodied in a person; invested with personality.
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Origin of impersonate

First recorded in 1615–25; im-1 + person + -ate1
Related formsim·per·son·a·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for impersonation

acting, pose, role, enactment

Examples from the Web for impersonation

Contemporary Examples of impersonation

Historical Examples of impersonation

British Dictionary definitions for impersonation


verb (tr)
  1. to pretend to be (another person)
  2. to imitate the character, mannerisms, etc, of (another person)
  3. rare to play the part or character of
  4. an archaic word for personify
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Derived Formsimpersonation, nounimpersonator, 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

Word Origin and History for impersonation


1800, "personification;" 1825 as "an acting of a part or character;" noun of action from impersonate (v.).

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1620s, "to invest with a personality," from assimilated form of Latin in- "into, in" (see in- (2)) + persona "person." Sense of "to assume the person or character of" is first recorded 1715. Earlier in same sense was personate (1610s). Related: Impersonated; impersonating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper