verb (used with object), per·son·at·ed, per·son·at·ing.

to act or portray (a character in a play, a part, etc.).
to assume the character or appearance of; pass oneself off as, especially with fraudulent intent; impersonate.
to represent in terms of personal properties or characteristics; personify.

verb (used without object), per·son·at·ed, per·son·at·ing.

to act or play a part.

Origin of personate

1590–1600; v. use of Latin persōnātus personate2
Related formsper·son·a·tion, nounper·son·a·tive, adjectiveper·son·a·tor, noun


[pur-suh-nit, -neyt]


  1. (of a bilabiate corolla) masklike.
  2. having the lower lip pushed upward so as to close the gap between the lips, as in the snapdragon.
  1. having a masked or disguised form, as the larvae of certain insects.
  2. having masklike markings.

Origin of personate

1750–60; < New Latin, Latin persōnātus masked; see persona, -ate1
Related formsper·son·ate·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for personate

Historical Examples of personate

  • We fixed upon Pierce to personate the ghost because he was tall and lanky.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • At that moment he was less like himself than was the impostor who came there to personate him.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • Let us fancy him on a journey, try and personate him; that would be the real way.

    A Day's Ride

    Charles James Lever

  • I accompanied Linton to Limerick at his request, dressed to personate you.

    Roland Cashel

    Charles James Lever

  • It was his own idea to personate you, and the risk is his own.

    The Traitors

    E. Phillips (Edward Phillips) Oppenheim

British Dictionary definitions for personate



verb (tr)

to act the part of (a character in a play); portray
a less common word for personify
criminal law to assume the identity of (another person) with intent to deceive
Derived Formspersonation, nounpersonative, adjectivepersonator, noun




(of the corollas of certain flowers) having two lips in the form of a face

Word Origin for personate

C18: from New Latin persōnātus masked, from Latin persōna; see person
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