impersonal

adjective
im·per·son·al | \ (ˌ)im-ˈpərs-nəl , -ˈpər-sə-nəl \

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from impersonal

impersonality \(ˌ)im-ˌpər-sə-ˈna-lə-tē \ noun
impersonally \(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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

But Saarinen finessed the problem rather like corporate architects today finesse the problem of housing large, impersonal, often rapacious organizations in buildings that suggests transparency, openness and idealism. Philip Kennicott, kansascity, "St. Louis’ Gateway Arch emerges with new name, skeptical view of western expansion," 3 July 2018 The new app, the team hopes, will act as more of a personal coach than an impersonal shop. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "3 Million Uber Drivers Are About to Get a New Boss," 10 Apr. 2018 These impersonal norms then facilitated Western institutions like individual rights, markets, and representative government. Kevin Lewis, BostonGlobe.com, "Looking for negative signals," 6 July 2018 But Saarinen finessed the problem rather like corporate architects today finesse the problem of housing large, impersonal, often rapacious organizations in buildings that suggests transparency, openness and idealism. Philip Kennicott, kansascity, "St. Louis’ Gateway Arch emerges with new name, skeptical view of western expansion," 3 July 2018 But Saarinen finessed the problem rather like corporate architects today finesse the problem of housing large, impersonal, often rapacious organizations in buildings that suggests transparency, openness and idealism. Philip Kennicott, chicagotribune.com, "50 years later, the St. Louis Arch emerges with a new name and a skeptical view of western expansion," 26 June 2018 Instead of replicating Polykleitos’ arithmetical perfection and Phidias’ impersonal muscularity, Rodin presents a nervous, boyish figure. Dominic Green, WSJ, "‘Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece’ Review: Recasting History," 28 Apr. 2018 The impersonal cosmic force is still tearing through the universe, doling out renewals and viral infections indiscriminately. Sean O'neal, GQ, "The Tortured Mind Of Dan Harmon," 30 May 2018 But its report lays waste to the idea that the plight of the American worker can be chalked up to impersonal economic forces, instead of concrete political decisions. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "New Study Confirms That American Workers Are Getting Ripped Off," 6 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of impersonal

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for impersonal

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about impersonal

Share impersonal

Statistics for impersonal

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impersonal

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for impersonal

impersonal

adjective

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

grammar : having no specified subject or no subject other than “it”

impersonal

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

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on impersonal

Spanish Central: Translation of impersonal

Nglish: Translation of impersonal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impersonal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on impersonal

What made you want to look up impersonal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a magnificent or impressive array

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!