identity

noun

iden·​ti·​ty ī-ˈden-tə-tē How to pronounce identity (audio)
ə-,
-ˈde-nə-
plural identities
1
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
5

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The jurors, whose identities are known to lawyers in the case but otherwise kept secret, will be tasked with deciding the outcome of the first criminal trial of a former president in U.S. history. Graham Kates, CBS News, 18 Apr. 2024 The identity of the suspect involved in this case has not been released and the investigation is currently ongoing. Jon Haworth, ABC News, 18 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for identity 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'identity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

Time Traveler
The first known use of identity was in 1545

Dictionary Entries Near identity

Cite this Entry

“Identity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/identity. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

identity

noun
iden·​ti·​ty ī-ˈden(t)-ət-ē How to pronounce identity (audio)
ə-ˈden(t)-
plural identities
1
: the condition of being exactly alike : sameness
2
3
: the fact of being the same person or thing as claimed
prove one's identity
4

Medical Definition

identity

noun
iden·​ti·​ty ī-ˈden(t)-ət-ē, ə-ˈ How to pronounce identity (audio)
plural identities
1
: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual
2
: the relation established by psychological identification

Legal Definition

identity

noun
iden·​ti·​ty
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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on identity

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