alter ego

al·​ter ego | \ ˌȯl-tər-ˈē-(ˌ)gō How to pronounce alter ego (audio) also -ˈe-(ˌ)gō How to pronounce alter ego (audio) \
plural alter egos

Definition of alter ego

1 : a second self or different version of oneself: such as
a : a trusted friend
b : the opposite side of a personality Clark Kent and his alter ego Superman
c : counterpart sense 3 a fictional character that is the author's alter ego
2 law : a person or entity vicariously liable for another (such as an agent) … because the Cuban bank had not physically participated in the expropriation, it could not be considered an alter ego of the Government in the context of the Citibank case.The New York Times

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Synonyms & Antonyms for alter ego


amigo, buddy, chum, compadre, comrade, confidant, confidante, crony, familiar, friend, intimate, mate [chiefly British], musketeer, pal


enemy, foe

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Did You Know?

In Latin, alter ego literally means "second I". An alter ego can be thought of as a person's clone or second self. A professional alter ego might be a trusted aide who knows exactly what the boss wants done. A personal alter ego might be a close friend who is almost like a twin. Alter ego can also refer to the second, hidden side of one's own self. In Robert Louis Stevenson's classic The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll is a good-hearted, honorable man; but after taking a potion, his alter ego, the loathsome and diabolical Mr. Hyde, takes over his personality.

Examples of alter ego in a Sentence

a trusted adviser who is the President's alter ego over the years the state's other senator became his alter ego as well as his political ally

Recent Examples on the Web

Bring your designer alter ego, a list of questions, a good idea of your budget and the dimensions of your room. Stepfanie Romine, azcentral, "Your step-by-step guide to choosing new flooring for any room in your home," 7 June 2019 Her Disney Channel character, Hannah Montana, was the superstar secret alter ego of an average kid. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "The Best Episode of the New “Black Mirror” Is a Princess Tale Starring Miley Cyrus," 5 June 2019 Sophie Turner’s Game of Thrones alter ego, Sansa Stark, has been through a lot over the years. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Sophie Turner Reveals That the ‘Game of Thrones’ Execs Pressured Her to Lose Weight," 4 May 2019 The first episode of season 2 revealed that Mayhem isn’t simply Brigid’s alter ego, as was speculated by fans, but actually a totally different character altogether. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Marvel's "Cloak and Dagger" Season 2 Throws Fresh Villains in the Mix and New Social Issues to Tackle," 9 Apr. 2019 Lil' Penny — a puppet voiced by comedian Chris Rock — was the loud-mouthed alter ego of then-Magic star Anfernee Hardaway in numerous Nike commercials during the 1990s. Chuck Schilken,, "Orlando Magic hope Lil' Penny will change their NBA draft lottery fortunes," 15 May 2018 In late March, Bri popped up on a stretch of Seventh Street that’s the chill alter ego of its glitzy uptown counterpart. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Eat Here First in May: 3 new restaurants to try before everybody else does," 15 May 2018 Black Lightning’s alter ego is Jefferson Pierce, a dynamic school principal and a concerned dad to two daughters, activist Anissa (Nafessa Williams, who will be at MegaCon) and student rebel Jennifer (China Anne McClain). Hal Boedeker,, "'Black Lightning': Family, father define show," 23 May 2018 Going by the moniker Catita Daiana, Tiao's flamboyant alter ego is something of a whirling dervish bedecked in dowdy transvestite attire. Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Azougue Nazare': Film Review | Rotterdam 2018," 29 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alter ego.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of alter ego

1537, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for alter ego

Latin, literally, second I

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Statistics for alter ego

Last Updated

21 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alter ego

The first known use of alter ego was in 1537

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More Definitions for alter ego

alter ego


English Language Learners Definition of alter ego

: a different version of yourself
: a close friend who thinks or feels similarly to the way you think or feel

alter ego

al·​ter ego | \ ˈȯl-tər-ˈē-gō How to pronounce alter ego (audio) \

Legal Definition of alter ego

: second self especially : a person or entity vicariously liable for another (as an agent) had the officer been the alter ego of the corporation — J. J. White and R. S. Summers — compare instrumentality

Note: The concept of a legal alter ego is used primarily to hold the controlling parties of a corporation personally liable instead of limiting liability to the corporate entity.

History and Etymology for alter ego

Latin, literally, second I

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Comments on alter ego

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


to take the place or position of

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