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[per-son-uh-fahy] /pərˈsɒn əˌfaɪ/
verb (used with object), personified, personifying.
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 forms
personifiable, adjective
personifiant, adjective
personifier, noun
unpersonified, adjective
unpersonifying, adjective
4. represent, exemplify, incorporate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for personified
  • Machismo, personified in the tyrant or author, is deeply embedded in the culture.
  • Now, and by the few words at the door, he had become the thing personified.
  • War came of itself, the personified process overriding personal agents.
  • In many ways, she seems to have personified the more idealistic aspects of that frequently maligned era.
  • No one has personified the enlivening, or degradation, of public-affairs programming more than he.
  • What mattered was that he personified their fight for freedom, kept alive their hopes and defied their enemies.
  • As a state-school educated, regionally-accented, mackintosh-wearing commoner he personified the break with the old elite.
  • Instead, she must be sweetness personified, drink certified milk and forswear all knowledge of the facts of life.
  • In addition to the snow, mentioned above, the rain and the roads are also personified.
  • The strong bond of family and accomplishments through the voyage home personified the embodiment of an adventurer.
British Dictionary definitions for personified


verb (transitive) -fies, -fying, -fied
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 Forms
personifiable, adjective
personifier, 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
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Word Origin and History for personified



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
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