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verb, iden·ti·fy \ī-ˈden-tə-ˌfī, ə-\

Simple Definition of identify

  • : to know and say who someone is or what something is

  • : to find out who someone is or what something is

  • : to show who someone is or what something is

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of identify


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to cause to be or become identical b :  to conceive as united (as in spirit, outlook, or principle) <groups that are identified with conservation>

  3. 2 a :  to establish the identity of b :  to determine the taxonomic position of (a biological specimen)

  4. intransitive verb
  5. 1 :  to be or become the same

  6. 2 :  to practice psychological identification <identify with the hero of a novel>

identifiable play \-ˌden-tə-ˈfī-ə-bəl\ adjective
identifiably play \-blē\ adverb

Examples of identify in a sentence

  1. She identified the dog as her lost pet.

  2. He was able to correctly identify the mushroom.

  3. The witness positively identified the suspect in the crime.

  4. The corpse was identified on the basis of dental records.

  5. They could not identify the source of the quotation.

  6. They had no difficulty in identifying the problem.

  7. We began by identifying what we needed for the job.

  8. We need to identify the causes of unemployment.


First Known Use of identify


IDENTIFY Defined for Kids


verb iden·ti·fy \ī-ˈden-tə-ˌfī\

Definition of identify for Students


  1. 1 :  to find out or show the identity of <… they ate … a mystery casserole that I could not identify. — Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons>

  2. 2 :  to feel empathy for <I identified with her problem.>

  3. 3 :  to think of as joined or associated with <These groups are identified with conservation.>

Medical Dictionary


verb iden·ti·fy \ī-ˈdent-ə-ˌfī, ə-\

Medical Definition of identify

identified; identifying

  1. transitive verb

  2. :  to determine the taxonomic position of (a biological specimen)

  3. intransitive verb

  4. :  to undergo or experience psychological identification <identify with the hero of a novel>

Law Dictionary


transitive verb iden·ti·fy

Legal Definition of identify


  1. 1 :  to consider as united or associated (as in interests or principles) <can ask leading questions of a witness who is identified with an adverse party>

  2. 2 :  to establish the identity of <identifying the suspect>

  3. 3 :  to specify or designate (goods) as the object of a contract —used in the phrase identify to the contract <the disputed beans were goods identified to the contract>

identifiable adjective
identification noun

Additional Notes on identify

Under the Uniform Commercial Code, once goods are identified to a contract, the buyer has a special property interest and an insurable interest in the goods. This gives the buyer the right to seek damages and other relief. This identification can be done at any time and in any manner agreed to by the parties or as otherwise specified in the U.C.C.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up identify? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tending to dismiss important matters

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