Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To assume the character or appearance of, especially fraudulently: impersonate a police officer.
  • transitive v. To imitate the appearance, voice, or manner of; mimic: an entertainer who impersonates celebrities.
  • transitive v. Archaic To embody; personify.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To manifest in corporeal form, or in one's own person or body.
  • v. To pretend to be (a different person), to assume the identity of.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To invest with personality; to endow with the form of a living being.
  • transitive v. To ascribe the qualities of a person to; to personify.
  • transitive v. To assume, or to represent, the person or character of; to personate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To invest with personality; ascribe the qualities of a person to; represent in bodily form; personify; embody.
  • To assume the person or character of; personate, especially on the stage: as, to impersonate Hamlet.
  • Personified; invested with personality.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. represent another person with comic intentions
  • v. pretend to be someone you are not; sometimes with fraudulent intentions
  • v. assume or act the character of

Etymologies

From im- + Latin persona ‘person’ + -ate, modelled on incorporate. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Kachina, for example, also denotes one of the elaborately masked dancers who impersonate a kachina at agricultural ceremonies, and yeibichai and shalako similarly have the same kind of dual usage.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol X No 3

  • How do you know they are intending to 'impersonate' YOU?

    Aerosmith's Steven Tyler is suing unknown bloggers who've impersonated him.

  • See, ITOTM, we "impersonate" you in order to make fun of you.

    Riding Balls Out: The Haters and the Hated

  • The white Tim tells us he got an email from Twitter Tuesday informing him they were shutting down his account because they believed he was trying to "impersonate" the Black, much taller Tim Duncan.

    Yahoo! Sports - Top News

  • Anyone going to a fancy dress party or acting or re-enacting is not trying to 'impersonate' in the legal sense that they want you to think that they are members of HMF.

    Army Rumour Service

  • The problem is, yes, I know Frank Langella wasn't trying to "impersonate" Nixon, but come-on, couldn't they have at least tried to hire someone who resembled him, just a LITTLE bit?

    EclipseMagazine

  • I wish I could sue SNL in defense of Sarah for defamation of character on some of what Tina Fey did to "impersonate"

    WordPress.com News

  • 'secondary use' of biometric data: a user who accesses two systems with the same fingerprint may allow another person to 'impersonate' him.

    MercatorNet

  • "impersonate" a battalion of tanks or an entire infantry division. visual deceptions, created using life-size mock-ups of artillery, trucks, planes, tanks, and even buildings.

    Mighty Optical Illusions

  • an issue was reported with vBulletin that may enable a user to "impersonate" another forum user.

    vBulletin Community Forum

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