[ per-son-uh-fi-key-shuh n ]
/ pərˌsɒn ə fɪˈkeɪ ʃən /


the attribution of human nature or character to animals, inanimate objects, or abstract notions, especially as a rhetorical figure.
the representation of a thing or abstraction in the form of a person, as in art.
the person or thing embodying a quality or the like; an embodiment or incarnation: He is the personification of tact.
an imaginary person or creature conceived or figured to represent a thing or abstraction.
the act of personifying; the attributing of human qualities to an animal, object, or abstraction: The author's personification of the farm animals made for an enchanting children's book.
a character portrayal or representation in a dramatic or literary work.

Nearby words

  1. personals,
  2. personalty,
  3. personate,
  4. personately,
  5. personhood,
  6. personify,
  7. personned,
  8. personnel,
  9. personnel agency,
  10. personnel department

Origin of personification

First recorded in 1745–55; personi(fy) + -fication

Related formsper·son·i·fi·ca·tor, nounnon·per·son·i·fi·ca·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for personification

British Dictionary definitions for personification


/ (pɜːˌsɒnɪfɪˈkeɪʃən) /


the attribution of human characteristics to things, abstract ideas, etc, as for literary or artistic effect
the representation of an abstract quality or idea in the form of a person, creature, etc, as in art and literature
a person or thing that personifies
a person or thing regarded as an embodiment of a qualityhe is the personification of optimism
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 personification



1755, noun of action from personify. Sense of "embodiment of a quality in a person" is attested from 1807.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper