impersonal

adjective im·per·son·al \ (ˌ)im-ˈpərs-nəl , -ˈpər-sə-nəl \
Updated on: 24 Nov 2017

Definition of impersonal

1 a : 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
2 a : 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

impersonality

play \(ˌ)im-ˌpər-sə-ˈna-lə-tē\ noun

impersonally

play \(ˌ)im-ˈpərs-nə-lē, -ˈpər-sə-nə-lē\ adverb

Examples of impersonal in a Sentence

  1. We discussed the weather and other impersonal topics.

  2. He maintained an impersonal, professional attitude.

  3. “Rained” in “it rained” is an impersonal verb.

Recent Examples of impersonal from the Web

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


IMPERSONAL Defined for English Language Learners

impersonal

adjective

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

impersonal

adjective im·per·son·al \ im-ˈpər-sə-nəl \

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.


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