im·​per·​son·​al (ˌ)im-ˈpər-sə-nəl How to pronounce impersonal (audio)
: having no personal reference or connection
impersonal criticism
: not engaging the human personality or emotions
the machine as compared with the hand tool is an impersonal agencyJohn Dewey
: not existing as a person : not having human qualities or characteristics
: denoting the verbal action of an unspecified agent and hence used with no expressed subject (such as methinks) or with a merely formal subject (such as rained in it rained)
of a pronoun : indefinite
(ˌ)im-ˈpər-sə-nə-lē How to pronounce impersonal (audio)

Example Sentences

We discussed the weather and other impersonal topics. He maintained an impersonal, professional attitude. “Rained” in “it rained” is an impersonal verb.
Recent Examples on the Web The Dark Half, based on Stephen King's 1989 novel of the same name, is a fairly compelling popcorn thriller that nevertheless finds Romero in highly impersonal territory, crafting a screen version of King's work that feels stylistically similar to a few too many of the author's adaptations. Declan Gallagher,, 19 Jan. 2023 In the past, some Americans have seen giving money or a gift certificate as impersonal. Ada Tsengassistant Editor, Los Angeles Times, 13 Dec. 2022 To comprehend it, every aspect of de Vigan’s reality had to be dismantled: the entire carapace of self, of history both personal and impersonal, of memory and fact and myth, of the collective life and the individual reality, and most of all of writing — narration — and its relationship to being. Rachel Cusk, New York Times, 2 May 2023 Conception — so often an intimate act — is made impersonal and medicalized in the context of the fertility clinic, and then made intimate again through the abuse of the doctor-patient relationship. Lisa Bubert, Longreads, 28 Mar. 2023 The office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at Vanderbilt's Peabody College of Education last week issued a statement that many have criticized as impersonal and lacking empathy. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 21 Feb. 2023 Nothing says expensive, unreliable and impersonal like government and perhaps this is why there are few things more exciting to advocates of big government than electrified public transit. James Freeman, WSJ, 10 Feb. 2023 With this in mind, Cofertility and Oma Fertility are considering a different approach with their donors that looks much more like an adoption process than an anonymous or impersonal exchange—the traditional model that most (albeit, not all) agencies take. Kristine Thomason, Women's Health, 28 Apr. 2023 Surely, like any other rhetorical art, sermon writing can be a lazy, inauthentic, and impersonal pursuit even when it’s also done by a human. Aj Willingham, CNN, 11 Apr. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Late Latin impersonalis, from Latin in- + Late Latin personalis personal

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Time Traveler
The first known use of impersonal was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near impersonal

Cite this Entry

“Impersonal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


im·​per·​son·​al (ˈ)im-ˈpərs-nəl How to pronounce impersonal (audio)
: having no expressed subject or no subject other than "it"
"rained" in "it rained" is an impersonal verb
: not personal:
: not showing or involving personal feelings : detached
an impersonal professional attitude
: not caring about individual persons or their feelings
cold impersonal cities
a giant impersonal corporation
impersonally adverb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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