alter ego

al·​ter ego | \ˌȯl-tər-ˈē-(ˌ)gō also -ˈe-(ˌ)gō \
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

Wakanda, the country ruled by his alter ego, King T’Challa, has never existed in the real world. Andrew Grant-thomas And Melissa Giraud, Good Housekeeping, "Parents: Maybe Don't Buy Your Kid That Black Panther Costume This Halloween," 11 Oct. 2018 More: Reporter says Donald Trump used alter ego 'John Barron' to get onto Forbes 400 list Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller disagreed with Bloomberg's valuation. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Trump's net worth declined for the second year in a row, Bloomberg reports," 31 May 2018 Just last month, Bella Hadid seemed to casually appropriate Japanese culture with an alter ego named Rebekka Harajuku. David Yi, Teen Vogue, "The Chun Li Challenge is the Latest Example of Pop Culture Stereotyping Asian Culture," 27 Apr. 2018 This Is Us alter ego, Kate Pearson, Chrissy Metz is no stranger to bullying. Aili Nahas,, "Chrissy Metz Recalls the Heartbreaking Moment Her 'First Kiss' Rebuffed Her in Public," 21 Mar. 2018 My attempt to ask Abby about prior abuse summoned her alter ego. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Emotional trauma can lead to dissociative identity disorder," 3 July 2018 Best known for her alter ego and YouTube character, Miranda Sings, Ballinger has designated half of the room as Miranda’s space. Arielle Paul,, "My Favorite Room: Colleen Ballinger makes room in her office for Miranda and her YouTube fans," 23 June 2018 Through these trials, Sam remains passionate as ever, a characteristic Browning is proud to share with her onscreen alter ego. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "Dear White People's Logan Browning Calls #TimesUp on Black Women as Constant Caretakers," 30 May 2018 While no actors were actually harmed in the making of the film, Tyler says that saying goodbye to their alter egos wasn’t without emotion. Ella Cerón, Teen Vogue, "Tyler Posey on “Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare” and Why He Loves Horror," 12 Apr. 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

6 Dec 2018

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 \

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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