verb (used with object), per·son·i·fied, per·son·i·fy·ing.

to attribute human nature or character to (an inanimate object or an abstraction), as in speech or writing.
to represent (a thing or abstraction) in the form of a person, as in art.
to embody (a quality, idea, etc.) in a real person or a concrete thing.
to be an embodiment or incarnation of; typify: He personifies the ruthless ambition of some executives.
to personate.

Origin of personify

1720–30; person + -ify; compare French personnifier, Italian personificare
Related formsper·son·i·fi·a·ble, adjectiveper·son·i·fi·ant, adjectiveper·son·i·fi·er, nounun·per·son·i·fied, adjectiveun·per·son·i·fy·ing, adjective

Synonyms for personify Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for personify

Contemporary Examples of personify

Historical Examples of personify

  • Like mythology, Greek philosophy has a tendency to personify ideas.



  • This is only a convenience, because it seems necessary to personify.

  • That man has a strong motive for my death, and to personify me afterwards.

    Rattlin the Reefer

    Edward Howard

  • Now it is often convenient to personify Nature, but we must not be misled.

    Parenthood and Race Culture

    Caleb Williams Saleeby

  • It is natural for us to personify and envelop in mystery the things that we do not understand.

    Plain English

    Marian Wharton

British Dictionary definitions for personify


verb -fies, -fying or -fied (tr)

to attribute human characteristics to (a thing or abstraction)
to represent (an abstract quality) in human or animal form
(of a person or thing) to represent (an abstract quality), as in art or literature
to be the embodiment of
Derived Formspersonifiable, adjectivepersonifier, 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 personify

1727 "to attribute personal form to things or abstractions" (especially as an artistic or literary technique), from person + -fy or from French personnifier (17c.), from personne. Meaning "to represent, embody" attested from 1806. Related: Personified; personifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper