im·​per·​son·​al | \ (ˌ)im-ˈpərs-nəl How to pronounce impersonal (audio) , -ˈpər-sə-nəl \

Definition of impersonal

1a : having no personal reference or connection impersonal criticism
b : not engaging the human personality or emotions the machine as compared with the hand tool is an impersonal agency— John Dewey
c : not existing as a person : not having human qualities or characteristics
2a : 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)
b of a pronoun : indefinite

Other Words from impersonal

impersonality \ (ˌ)im-​ˌpər-​sə-​ˈna-​lə-​tē How to pronounce impersonal (audio) \ noun
impersonally \ (ˌ)im-​ˈpərs-​nə-​lē How to pronounce impersonal (audio) , -​ˈpər-​sə-​nə-​lē \ adverb

Examples of impersonal in a Sentence

We discussed the weather and other impersonal topics. He maintained an impersonal, professional attitude. “Rained” in “it rained” is an impersonal verb.
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Recent Examples on the Web For all the convenience of e-commerce, shopping on websites remains impersonal and generic, Loukakos says. Jeff Koyen, Forbes, 3 Jan. 2022 Any bigger, Clark said, and groups start to feel impersonal. Washington Post, 10 Dec. 2021 My first half dozen rejections were all short, impersonal form letters. Seija Rankin,, 15 Dec. 2021 The biographer’s gift lay in fusing the personal and impersonal, his experience as an art student and jobbing critic, the stoic’s sense with an epicurean sensibility. Maxwell Carter, WSJ, 3 Dec. 2021 Corboy says that going through attorneys rather than reaching out himself made the gesture feel disingenuous and impersonal. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, 30 Nov. 2021 TikTok evoking the merciless imposition of clock time that severs us, again and again, from our subjective experience and propels us into the savage realm of impersonal quantification. Will Self, Harper's Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021 Engaging with academia helps businesses identify gaps in an impersonal and deeply-studied setting. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 4 Nov. 2021 But amid the trend of fast buying and impersonal goods, local artisans are stepping up to sell items designed with quality and longevity in mind. Patrick Connolly,, 26 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impersonal.' 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 impersonal

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

History and Etymology for impersonal

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

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Time Traveler for impersonal

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Impersonal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for impersonal



English Language Learners Definition of impersonal

: having or showing no interest in individual people or their feelings : lacking emotional warmth
: not relating to or influenced by personal feelings
: having no specified subject or no subject other than "it"


im·​per·​son·​al | \ im-ˈpər-sə-nəl How to pronounce impersonal (audio) \

Kids Definition of impersonal

1 : not caring about individual persons or their feelings She disliked the large impersonal city.
2 : not showing or involving personal feelings We discussed the weather and other impersonal topics.


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