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
Van Houtryve captures decisive moments even with equipment that is remote and impersonal.
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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