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[pur-suh-neyt] /ˈpɜr səˌneɪt/
verb (used with object), personated, personating.
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), personated, personating.
to act or play a part.
Origin of personate1
1590-1600; v. use of Latin persōnātus personate2
Related forms
personation, noun
personative, adjective
personator, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for personation
Historical Examples
  • An early Christian sect, called Ophites, worshipped it as the personation of natural knowledge.

    Tablets Amos Bronson Alcott
  • No man surely 20 ever had so little talent for personation as Johnson.

    Macaulay's Life of Samuel Johnson Thomas Babington Macaulay
  • Probably there are still Old Conservatives who would prefer the personation of us by boys.'

  • They are bribery, treating, undue influence, and personation.

  • At the close of your personation the hearers may vote upon the name of the bird presented.

    Bird Day; How to prepare for it Charles Almanzo Babcock
  • How marvelously easy of accomplishment the act of personation had been!

    The New Magdalen Wilkie Collins
  • Mr. Goodwin becomes interesting as the starving poet, and his personation gives promise of better things.

  • In such a personation, make-up becomes a serious part of art.

    Plays, Acting and Music Arthur Symons
  • The 'one subject' prohibited to Mercy as sternly as ever is still the subject of the personation of Grace Roseberry!

    The New Magdalen Wilkie Collins
  • If they were in any way due to confederates, or to personation by the medium, such variations would not be likely to occur.

    Materialized Apparitions Edward Augustus Brackett
British Dictionary definitions for personation


verb (transitive)
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 Forms
personation, noun
personative, adjective
personator, noun


/ˈpɜːsənɪt; -ˌneɪt/
(of the corollas of certain flowers) having two lips in the form of a face
Word Origin
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
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