mis·​iden·​ti·​fy ˌmis-ī-ˈden-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce misidentify (audio)
misidentified; misidentifying

transitive verb

: to identify (someone or something) incorrectly
… a coroner apparently misidentified the bullet he removed from the victim, stating that its caliber differed from that of the bullet entered as evidence against the known shooter.David Fisher
While examining the American Museum's collection, I came across a mongoose specimen that was clearly misidentified.W. Chris Wozencraft

Examples of misidentify in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In 2020, the reputation of the vaunted Metropolitan Division was tarnished after some officers were accused of deliberately misidentifying people as gang members in department records of field interviews. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 19 Apr. 2024 An article on Page 36 this weekend about homelessness in San Francisco misidentifies the constitutional amendment in which the equal-protection clause appears. New York Times, 19 Nov. 2023 Thousands of people are poisoned every year during the rainy season by misidentifying mushrooms. Sara Okeefe, The Mercury News, 16 Mar. 2024 In 2019, the agency released a landmark study confirming facial recognition systems misidentify people of color more often than White people, casting scrutiny on the technology’s popularity among law enforcement. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, 6 Mar. 2024 But now, Target is pulling the item off shelves after a viral TikTok in which Espy pointed out inaccuracies such as misidentifying names and pictures of iconic Civil Rights leaders. Ramishah Maruf, CNN, 2 Feb. 2024 The article also misidentifies the type of glasses used in lab sessions during the Covid pandemic. New York Times, 28 Jan. 2024 Facial recognition misidentifies criminal suspects? Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker, 30 Nov. 2023 Early in the investigation, many details of the shooting remained unclear, with the sheriff’s office mistakenly misidentifying family members and court records excluding names of the victims in some documents and misspelling them in others. Emily Palmer, Peoplemag, 17 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'misidentify.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1867, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of misidentify was in 1867

Dictionary Entries Near misidentify

Cite this Entry

“Misidentify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misidentify. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

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