identity

noun iden·ti·ty \ ī-ˈden-tə-tē , ə- , -ˈde-nə- \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of identity

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

Examples of identity in a Sentence

  1. The identity of the criminal is not known.

  2. They produced their passports as proof of their identities.

  3. They arrested the wrong man. It was a case of mistaken identity.

  4. As children grow, they establish their own identities.

  5. people who seem to lack individual identity

  6. His art reflects his cultural identity.

Recent Examples of identity from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of identity

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



IDENTITY Defined for English Language Learners

identity

noun

Definition of identity for English Language Learners

  • : who someone is : the name of a person

  • : the qualities, beliefs, etc., that make a particular person or group different from others


IDENTITY Defined for Kids

identity

noun iden·ti·ty \ ī-ˈden-tə-tē \

Definition of identity for Students

plural identities
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.

Medical Dictionary

identity

noun iden·ti·ty \ ī-ˈden(t)-ət-ē, ə-ˈ \

medical Definition of identity

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

Law Dictionary

identity

noun iden·ti·ty

legal Definition of identity

plural identities
1 : sameness of essential character or aspect
  • collateral estoppel requires identity of the issues and the parties
2 a : separate or distinct existence
  • when movables lose their identity or become an integral part of the immovable
  • Louisiana 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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