Definition of impersonal
1a : 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
2a : having no personal reference or connection impersonal criticismb : not engaging the human personality or emotions the machine as compared with the hand tool is an impersonal agency — John Deweyc : not existing as a person : not having human qualities or characteristics
impersonalityplay \(ˌ)im-ˌpər-sə-ˈna-lə-tē\ noun
impersonallyplay \(ˌ)im-ˈpərs-nə-lē, -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.
Recent Examples of impersonal from the Web
The impersonal machinery of bankruptcy has dealt a blow to Project Home’s effort to build a $13 million LGBTQ-friendly affordable-housing project on property the nonprofit wanted to buy from the bankrupt North Philadelphia Health System.
New York can feel like big, impersonal place—and so can the offices in or near the largest city in the country.
The parents themselves are struggling against a system that feels impersonal, unyielding and inscrutable.
But the Hollywood Sculpture Garden makes its contemporaries seem impersonal by comparison.
Though initiated through impersonal online notices, a great deal of the final transactions take place in person.
Unlike big, impersonal online agencies, the best travel agents know a great deal about their clients and their travel choices.
Michelson said another obstacle to the spread of election festivals is that efforts to increase voter turnout — and our culture in general — are headed in the opposite direction, toward the digital and impersonal.
As Japan Times’ Mizuho Aoki notes, these corpse hotels, known as itai hoteru in Japan, were invented as an alternative to sparse morgues where bodies were kept in impersonal cold storage.
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.
Origin and Etymology of impersonal
Middle English, from Late Latin impersonalis, from Latin in- + Late Latin personalis personal
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
IMPERSONAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of impersonal for English Language Learners
: having or showing no interest in individual people or their feelings : lacking emotional warmth
: not relating to or influenced by personal feelings
grammar : having no specified subject or no subject other than “it”
IMPERSONAL Defined for Kids
Definition of impersonal for Students
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.
Seen and Heard
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