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

The original series, which ran from 2001 to 2004 and was created by Terri Minsky, followed 13-year-old Lizzie, who dreamt of being popular in school, as her animated alter ego represented her true feelings. Eric Todisco, PEOPLE.com, "Hilary Duff Says Lizzie McGuire Isn’t Engaged to Gordo in Disney+ Reboot," 5 Sep. 2019 Its comic-book gaudiness was in keeping with some of his past alter egos: Jamie Starr, Alexander Nevermind, Joey Coco. Dan Piepenbring, The New Yorker, "The Book of Prince," 2 Sep. 2019 Lowe notes — and how the Abrams approach writing Peter Parker and his costumed alter ego. Graeme Mcmillan, The Hollywood Reporter, "J.J. Abrams Teases New 'Spider-Man' Villain in Comic Book Trailer," 15 Aug. 2019 Maigret is in certain key areas Simenon’s opposite, his alter ego, his other. Vince Passaro, Harper's magazine, "Maigret All Day," 22 July 2019 Andy Warhol wasn’t the first artist to self-consciously shape a persona to play in front of the camera — Marcel Duchamp did that with his female alter ego, Rrose Sélavy. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "Sweetness, ferocity, and sparkle in portrait photos since Stonewall," 18 July 2019 So in the short novel that followed, The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles (1958), an anonymous Bassani alter ego narrates in first person the story of Athos Fadigati, who arrived in Ferrara from Venice shortly after the First World War to practice medicine. Tim Parks, Harper's magazine, "Behind the High Walls," 10 Feb. 2019 The character Bergotte—a writer and another of Proust’s alter egos in the novel—dies in front of a Vermeer. Joseph Leo Koerner, The New York Review of Books, "First Among Equals," 7 Feb. 2019 Allegories about transformation, alter egos, and true selves resonate in particular with LGBTQ audiences. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power honors and challenges the original She-Ra.," 21 Nov. 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

13 Sep 2019

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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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