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
What should have been the most impersonal of interactions – the facts and only the facts – turned out differently because of the cop sent to the scene.
A face-to-face meeting can humanize the two sides and often removes some of the intrigue involved in impersonal, telephone communication.
In early commercial contexts, a unique mark helped customers distinguish one maker’s wares from another in increasingly impersonal and far-flung marketplaces.
But there's also something impersonal about handing a grad an envelope of cash.
And that social media, despite its bad rap for being impersonal, can be a great way to make personal connections in faraway places.
Although the cultural and legal status of drug use is unsettled today, a broad consensus is forming around moving carefully away from the crackdown mentality toward a less destructive, reactive and impersonal justice system.
In a kind of double reversal, Wokoma plays up the impersonal tone of an exhibition to ask us to pay attention to the larger significance of these very specific family objects.
Personal, impersonal, searched, and researched images blend together in streams and scrolls, taking us everywhere and nowhere at the same moment.
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
What made you want to look up impersonal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).