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[v. im-pur-suh-neyt; adj. im-pur-suh-nit, -neyt] /v. ɪmˈpɜr səˌneɪt; adj. ɪmˈpɜr sə nɪt, -ˌneɪt/
verb (used with object), impersonated, impersonating.
to assume the character or appearance of; pretend to be:
He was arrested for impersonating a police officer.
to mimic the voice, mannerisms, etc., of (a person) in order to entertain.
to act or play the part of; personate.
Archaic. to represent in personal or bodily form; personify; typify.
embodied in a person; invested with personality.
Origin of impersonate
1615-25; im-1 + person + -ate1
Related forms
impersonation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for impersonate
  • The mimic octopus can impersonate lots of underwater creatures, including flatfish.
  • Otherwise periodically impersonate cleaning wars to prevent population growing worldwide.
  • On the bench he may in fact impersonate a mummy swathed in double-knit.
  • Language is a playing with words until they can impersonate physical objects and abstract ideas.
  • It has, though, already gained notoriety for its unique ability to impersonate venomous or distasteful animals.
  • So in order to secure serve these files, the file server must be able to impersonate the client.
  • Also unauthorized are attempts to impersonate others or to intercept data intended for others.
  • And the temptations to impersonate others can be great.
  • Certificates help prevent someone from using a phony key to impersonate someone else.
  • These blackmailers often impersonate police officers in carrying out their blackmail schemes.
British Dictionary definitions for impersonate


verb (transitive)
to pretend to be (another person)
to imitate the character, mannerisms, etc, of (another person)
(rare) to play the part or character of
an archaic word for personify
Derived Forms
impersonation, noun
impersonator, 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 impersonate

1620s, "to invest with a personality," from assimilated form of Latin in- "into, in" (see in- (2)) + persona "person." Sense of "to assume the person or character of" is first recorded 1715. Earlier in same sense was personate (1610s). Related: Impersonated; impersonating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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