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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They not only animate and personify material objects, but even diseases and their remedies.

    Myth and Science Tito Vignoli
  • Like mythology, Greek philosophy has a tendency to personify ideas.

    Sophist Plato
  • These wild riders of the stormy sky, like their prototypes in the Vedas, personify or typify "rain senders."

  • That man has a strong motive for my death, and to personify me afterwards.

    Rattlin the Reefer Edward Howard
  • Then they have been supposed to personify the secret dangers of a calm sea, and their song is the music of splashing waters.

    Homer's Odyssey Denton J. Snider
  • Now it is often convenient to personify Nature, but we must not be misled.

    Parenthood and Race Culture Caleb Williams Saleeby
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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