iden·​ti·​fy | \ ī-ˈden-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce identify (audio) , ə- \
identified; identifying

Definition of identify

transitive verb

1a : to establish the identity of
b : to determine the taxonomic position of (a biological specimen)
2a : to conceive as united (as in spirit, outlook, or principle) groups that are identified with conservation
b : to cause to be or become identical

intransitive verb

1 : to practice psychological identification identify with the hero of a novel
2 : to be or become the same

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Examples of identify in a Sentence

She identified the dog as her lost pet. He was able to correctly identify the mushroom. The witness positively identified the suspect in the crime. The corpse was identified on the basis of dental records. They could not identify the source of the quotation. They had no difficulty in identifying the problem. We began by identifying what we needed for the job. We need to identify the causes of unemployment.
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Recent Examples on the Web What's more, 44% of Americans now call themselves independents, compared to 24% who identify as Republican and 30% as Democrats. Ashley Pratte Oates, CNN, 24 July 2021 Morning Consult's polling showed those who identify as Independents have similar views as Republicans on CRT, with 31% expressing a somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable (25%) view, and only 13% offering a very favorable or favorable view. Sam Dorman, Fox News, 24 July 2021 The new card is intended to give people who do not identify as male or female a form of official documentation that better matched their identity. Washington Post, 22 July 2021 Research has found that COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy tends to be high among those who identify as Republican. Angie Leventis Lourgos,, 19 July 2021 Voter registration in the district is 34.8% Democratic, 34.6% Republican and 25.7% who identify as having no party preference. Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, 18 July 2021 The best way to learn about different cultures, aside from studying them or living within them, is to simply speak with people who identify with them. Aron Ravin, National Review, 5 July 2021 Nicole Kidman, Kanye West, and Alanis Morisette are among the many who identify as an HSP. Gillian Sagansky, Vogue, 2 July 2021 The number of voters who identify as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders rose across the country, but the increase was among the most stark in Georgia, where participation rose by more than 80%. Arielle Kass, ajc, 2 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'identify.' 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 identify

1626, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2b

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Time Traveler for identify

Time Traveler

The first known use of identify was in 1626

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Dictionary Entries Near identify



identifying mark/feature

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Statistics for identify

Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Identify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for identify



English Language Learners 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


iden·​ti·​fy | \ ī-ˈden-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce identify (audio) \
identified; identifying

Kids Definition of identify

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 : to feel empathy for I identified with her problem.
3 : to think of as joined or associated with These groups are identified with conservation.


iden·​ti·​fy | \ ī-ˈdent-ə-ˌfī, ə- How to pronounce identify (audio) \
identified; identifying

Medical Definition of identify

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to undergo or experience psychological identification identify with the hero of a novel

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transitive verb
identified; identifying

Legal Definition of identify

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 : to establish the identity of identifying the suspect
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

Note: 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.

Other Words from identify

identifiable adjective
identification noun

More from Merriam-Webster on identify

Nglish: Translation of identify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of identify for Arabic Speakers


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