alter ego

noun
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

Synonyms

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

Antonyms

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

For something simple, there are plenty of options thanks to superhero alter egos as well as supporting characters. Garrett Mitchell, azcentral, "Phoenix Comic Fest: The cosplay you'll likely see this year," 23 May 2018 James unveiled his devastatingly fabulous drag alter ego in a video collab with Instagram star Plastique Tiara. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "James Charles’ Extreme Drag Transformation Video Looks Exactly Like Kylie Jenner," 18 Mar. 2019 Superman) was always saving him, which made his little brother his mortal alter ego. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The Best 'This Is Us' Recap of Episode 10 From Season 3," 16 Jan. 2019 This was a few years ago—the web series, which also marries crisp, incisive writing with maniacal situations, launched in 2013—and the two were concerned about how their filmic alter egos would translate offscreen. Sally Singer, Vogue, "With Slash, a Fetish for Pop Culture Leads to the Stage," 8 Jan. 2019 Spider-Man’s pensive moments — when Peter agonized over sacrifices his alter ego had demanded of him, for example — echoed the psychological struggles in Mr. Ditko’s earlier horror comics. Andy Webster, New York Times, "Steve Ditko, Influential Comic-Book Artist Who Helped Create Spider-Man, Dies at 90," 7 July 2018 Dillon Francis has been interviewing famous DJs, including Calvin Harris and Alesso, as his serious techno alter ego DJ Hanzel, but this latest episode featuring a quiet Jauz might be the most cringeworthy yet. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Jauz Goes 'One Deeper' With Hilarious Dillon Francis Interview: Watch," 2 July 2018 Only the second person to do double duty, hosting and starring as the musical guest, Glover’s alter ego, the Grammy award-winning Childish Gambino performed several times throughout the show. Richie Duchon /, NBC News, "Stormy Daniels makes 'SNL' cameo in Michael Cohen skit," 6 May 2018 Far from it, good and evil in the persons of David and Kevin—or one of Kevin’s savage alter egos—have at each other all over the City of Brotherly Love, with Elijah as the Don King of the piece, promoting their fights and egging them on. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Glass’ Review: Shyamalan Shattered," 17 Jan. 2019

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

12 Apr 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

noun

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

noun
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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