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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 personify
  • They represent the spirit of an age and personify the minds and hearts of the people who inhabit them.
  • We need an advocate with the statue to personify the problem and carry it through.
  • Here are four contenders who personify certain choices available to the electors.
  • Brown came to personify those positions and because of it, he won the election.
  • In countries around the world, bad guys were found by the news media to personify this narrative.
  • personify this in religion, or rationalize it in mathematical causality.
  • Far from being the personification of integrity, honour and all the rest of it, he came to personify something else entirely.
  • Three distinct periods intended to personify various degrees of economic devastation and recovery are represented here.
  • Authors can personify an animal's relationships, too.
  • Then the teacher and students proceed to take each letter, one by one, and personify it.
British Dictionary definitions for personify


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 personify

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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