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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Isaac said the man who was shot is an adult male, but did not release any other information about his identity. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Man shot by Cincinnati police in Madisonville park," 4 July 2019 So naturally people took it to mean that the Atlanta native sharing news about his identity with his followers, especially given the significance of the day. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Lil Nas X makes people think he came out," 1 July 2019 No additional information was available about his identity or condition. Houston Chronicle, "5-year-old in hospital after near-drowning," 30 June 2019 The man lied to officers about his identity, but the woman confirmed it. cleveland.com, "Man forgets he lent car to a friend after drinking too much; reports it stolen: South Euclid Police Blotter," 26 June 2019 But these stories reflect something more interesting about gay identity. Tim Ryan Williams, Vox, "Why we need to get to know the “bad gays” of history," 26 June 2019 At the end of 2018, Lloyds Bank shuttered 8,000 accounts in Jersey, after their owners spent three years ignoring the bank’s questions about their identity, the Financial Times reported yesterday (paywall). Max De Haldevang, Quartz, "A British tax haven is returning a Nigerian dictator’s $270 million to his country," 25 June 2019 Anyone with information about the identity of either suspect is asked to call the Det. Michelle Hunter, nola.com, "Credit cards stolen from ALS non-profit linked to Steve Gleason foundation: JPSO," 25 June 2019 Both of the teens, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, have won state titles in various events, the Hartford Courant reports, and have spoken openly about their transgender identity. CBS News, "3 Connecticut female athletes file federal discrimination complaint over transgender competition," 19 June 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.

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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

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Statistics for identity

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for identity

The first known use of identity was in 1545

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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

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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

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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

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