identify

[ahy-den-tuh-fahy, ih-den-]
verb (used with object), i·den·ti·fied, i·den·ti·fy·ing.
  1. to recognize or establish as being a particular person or thing; verify the identity of: to identify handwriting; to identify the bearer of a check.
  2. to serve as a means of identification for: His gruff voice quickly identified him.
  3. to make, represent to be, or regard or treat as the same or identical: They identified Jones with the progress of the company.
  4. to associate in name, feeling, interest, action, etc. (usually followed by with): He preferred not to identify himself with that group.
  5. Biology. to determine to what group (a given specimen) belongs.
  6. Psychology. to associate (one or oneself) with another person or a group of persons by identification.
verb (used without object), i·den·ti·fied, i·den·ti·fy·ing.
  1. to associate oneself in feeling, interest, action, etc., with a specified group or belief system (usually followed by as or with): He identifies as bisexual. She identifies with feminism. My family identifies Hispanic.
  2. to experience psychological identification: The audience identified with the play's characters.

Origin of identify

1635–45; < Medieval Latin identificāre, equivalent to identi(tās) identity + -ficāre -fy
Related formsi·den·ti·fi·a·ble, adjectivei·den·ti·fi·a·bil·i·ty, i·den·ti·fi·a·ble·ness, nouni·den·ti·fi·er, nouno·ver·i·den·ti·fy, verb, o·ver·i·den·ti·fied, o·ver·i·den·ti·fy·ing.pre·i·den·ti·fy, verb (used with object), pre·i·den·ti·fied, pre·i·den·ti·fy·ing.re·i·den·ti·fy, verb (used with object), re·i·den·ti·fied, re·i·den·ti·fy·ing.un·i·den·ti·fi·a·ble, adjectiveun·i·den·ti·fi·a·bly, adverbun·i·den·ti·fied, adjectiveun·i·den·ti·fy·ing, adjectivewell-i·den·ti·fied, adjective

Synonyms for identify

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unidentifiable

Contemporary Examples of unidentifiable

  • Henry found paperwork revealing the Army had recovered the destroyed vehicle and two badly burned, unidentifiable bodies.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The WWII Hero America Abandoned

    Megan McCloskey, ProPublica

    March 21, 2014

Historical Examples of unidentifiable

  • He was as unidentifiable as would be a shot escaping back into a bag of its fellows.

    That Last Waif

    Horace Fletcher

  • My best razors are, of course, at the bottom of some unidentifiable trunk.

  • Some quality in the man—his manner of speech, the tone of his laugh, or that faint, unidentifiable taint—made him uneasy.

  • Investigate and you find chunks of carrot and other unidentifiable material, and now and then a bit of mysterious meat.

  • Mr. Chitterwick began to tremble and he blinked furiously, reaching out and finding flesh, cold and hard, unidentifiable.

    Elegy

    Charles Beaumont


British Dictionary definitions for unidentifiable

identify

verb -fies, -fying or -fied (mainly tr)
  1. to prove or recognize as being a certain person or thing; determine the identity of
  2. to consider as the same or equivalent
  3. (also intr often foll by with) to consider (oneself) as similar to another
  4. to determine the taxonomic classification of (a plant or animal)
  5. (intr usually foll by with) psychol to engage in identification
Derived Formsidentifiable, adjectiveidentifiably, adverb
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 unidentifiable
adj.

1859, from un- + identifiable.

identify

v.

1640s, "regard as the same," from French identifier, from identité (see identity). Sense of "recognize" first recorded 1769. Meaning "make one (with), associate (oneself)" is from 1780. Sense of "serve as means of identification" is attested by 1886. Related: Identified; identifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper