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[per-son-uh-fi-key-shuh n] /pərˌsɒn ə fɪˈkeɪ ʃən/
the attribution of human nature or character to animals, inanimate objects, or abstract notions, especially as a rhetorical figure.
the representation of a thing or abstraction in the form of a person, as in art.
the person or thing embodying a quality or the like; an embodiment or incarnation:
He is the personification of tact.
an imaginary person or creature conceived or figured to represent a thing or abstraction.
the act of personifying; the attributing of human qualities to an animal, object, or abstraction:
The author's personification of the farm animals made for an enchanting children's book.
a character portrayal or representation in a dramatic or literary work.
Origin of personification
1745-55; personi(fy) + -fication
Related forms
personificator, noun
nonpersonification, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for personification
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In his own line of poetry, the personification of abstract qualities, Collins stands unrivalled.

  • You are the personification of fortune, of beauty, and of youth, my dear Seigneur; my only pleasure is in you.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • It is to be noted that personification is, in some sort, the reverse of symbolism, and is far less noble.

  • In such case Notscha would be a personification of the thunder.

  • Thought will be the agent of his ministries; which the poet has so marvellously portrayed in its personification as Ariel.

    The Arena Various
British Dictionary definitions for personification


the attribution of human characteristics to things, abstract ideas, etc, as for literary or artistic effect
the representation of an abstract quality or idea in the form of a person, creature, etc, as in art and literature
a person or thing that personifies
a person or thing regarded as an embodiment of a quality: he is the personification of optimism
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 personification

1755, noun of action from personify. Sense of "embodiment of a quality in a person" is attested from 1807.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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