identity

noun
iden·​ti·​ty | \ ī-ˈden-tə-tē How to pronounce identity (audio) , ə-, -ˈde-nə-\
plural identities

Definition of identity

1a : the distinguishing character or personality of an individual : individuality
b : the relation established by psychological identification
2 : the condition of being the same with something described or asserted establish the identity of stolen goods
3a : sameness of essential or generic character in different instances
b : sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing : oneness
4 : an equation that is satisfied for all values of the symbols

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of identity in a Sentence

The identity of the criminal is not known. They produced their passports as proof of their identities. They arrested the wrong man. It was a case of mistaken identity. As children grow, they establish their own identities. people who seem to lack individual identity His art reflects his cultural identity.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

But, as a recent social media post hinted, the actor might also be hiding a heroic identity. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "KJ Apa Joked about the Reason for His Frequent Hair Color Changes," 15 Aug. 2018 Police are awaiting autopsy results and have not released her identity. Steve Burns, ajc, "Man charged in death of woman he met at Rainbow Family gathering in Georgia," 12 July 2018 Even after Helen was forced to quit social media once trolls discovered her account and hurled sexist insults at her, Blair encouraged her followers to investigate and expose the woman's real identity. Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic, "Stop Live-Tweeting Strangers Flirting," 9 July 2018 Now, in our post-post-modern world, the color once again flirts with ideas of gender and identity. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Fall’s 50 Shades . . . of Pink," 27 Mar. 2019 Two years after authorities began rounding up Urumqi’s mostly Muslim ethnic Uighur residents, many of the anchors of Uighur life and identity are being uprooted. Josh Chin, WSJ, "After Mass Detentions, China Razes Muslim Communities to Build a Loyal City," 20 Mar. 2019 Transphobia is people rejecting trans and gender non-conforming (or TGNC) identities. Megan Lasher, Seventeen, "What Does 'Cisgender' Mean?," 13 Mar. 2019 In addition to her openness about the challenges of MS, the actress has also embraced the ways in which her life and identity has shifted — most notably through fashion. Ariel Henley, Allure, "How Fashion Lets Me Embrace the Physical Differences Caused by Crouzon Syndrome," 12 Mar. 2019 Your therapist isn’t sensitive to your differences in identity. Kimberly Truong, SELF, "Here’s Exactly How to Break Up With Your Therapist," 9 Mar. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of identity

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

History and Etymology for identity

Middle French identité, from Late Latin identitat-, identitas, probably from Latin identidem repeatedly, contraction of idem et idem, literally, same and same

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about identity

Statistics for identity

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for identity

The first known use of identity was in 1545

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for identity

identity

noun

English Language Learners Definition of identity

: who someone is : the name of a person
: the qualities, beliefs, etc., that make a particular person or group different from others

identity

noun
iden·​ti·​ty | \ ī-ˈden-tə-tē How to pronounce identity (audio) \
plural identities

Kids Definition of identity

1 : the set of qualities and beliefs that make one person or group different from others : individuality Children establish their own identities.
2 : the fact of being the same person or thing as claimed Can you prove your identity?
3 : the fact or condition of being exactly alike : sameness He proved the identity of the two books' authorship.

identity

noun
iden·​ti·​ty | \ ī-ˈden(t)-ət-ē, ə-ˈ How to pronounce identity (audio) \
plural identities

Medical Definition of identity

1 : the distinguishing character or personality of an individual
2 : the relation established by psychological identification

Keep scrolling for more

identity

noun
iden·​ti·​ty
plural identities

Legal Definition of identity

1 : sameness of essential character or aspect collateral estoppel requires identity of the issues and the parties
2a : separate or distinct existence when movables lose their identity or become an integral part of the immovableLouisiana Civil Code
b : distinguishing character of a person especially : information (as a name or address) that distinguishes a person is required to reveal the identity of an informer but for a mistake concerning the proper party's identity Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 15(c)
3 : the condition of being the same as a thing or person described, claimed, or accused character evidence of a suspect's past crimes may be admitted to prove the identity of a crime's perpetrator

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on identity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with identity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for identity

Spanish Central: Translation of identity

Nglish: Translation of identity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of identity for Arabic Speakers

Comments on identity

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

WORD OF THE DAY

likely to have or produce good results

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!