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

  • n. The collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known: "If the broadcast group is the financial guts of the company, the news division is its public identity” ( Bill Powell).
  • n. The set of behavioral or personal characteristics by which an individual is recognizable as a member of a group.
  • n. The quality or condition of being the same as something else.
  • n. The distinct personality of an individual regarded as a persisting entity; individuality.
  • n. Information, such as an identification number, used to establish or prove a person's individuality, as in providing access to a credit account.
  • n. Mathematics An equation that is satisfied by any number that replaces the letter for which the equation is defined.
  • n. Mathematics Identity element.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The sameness some individuals share to make up the same kind or universal.
  • n. The difference or character that marks off an individual from the rest of the same kind, selfhood.
  • n. A name or persona—the mask or appearance one presents to the world—by which one is known.
  • n. Knowledge of who one is.
  • n. Any function which maps all elements of its domain to themselves.
  • n. An element of an algebraic structure which, when applied to another element under an operation in that structure, yields this, second element.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state or quality of being identical, or the same; sameness.
  • n. The condition of being the same with something described or asserted, or of possessing a character claimed.
  • n. An identical equation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being the same; absolute sameness; that relation which anything bears to itself; loosely, essential or practical sameness. Properly, identity belongs only to the individual, thing, being, event, etc.
  • n. In mathematics: The relation of an expression to another symbol for itself: often denoted by three short parallel horizontal lines, ≡ (derived from the mark of equality, =).
  • n. In algebra: A relation of equivalence dependent only upon the very nature of the operations involved, and not at all upon the particular numbers operated with: for example, the identity of ab with ba.
  • n. An identical equation; an equation for any letter in which any number whatsoever may be substituted without destroying the equality or restricting the values of any other letter: for example, (a + b) + c = a + (b + c).

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

  • n. the individual characteristics by which a thing or person is recognized or known
  • n. the distinct personality of an individual regarded as a persisting entity
  • n. exact sameness
  • n. an operator that leaves unchanged the element on which it operates


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

French identité, from Old French identite, from Late Latin identitās, from Latin idem, the same (influenced by Late Latin essentitās, being, and identidem, repeatedly), from id, it; see i- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Learned borrowing from Vulgar Latin identitas ("sameness"), from Latin idem ("the same"). See identical and idem.


  • In this sense, then, a thing's essence may be said to constitute its identity, when one uses the word ˜identity™ in this distinctive manner to speak of

    Ontological Dependence

  • E.G. create table table1 (id int identity (1,1) not null, name nvarchar (64)) go insert into table1 ( 'Hello world') go select @@identity


  • 1998, "Criteria of identity and the ˜identity mystic™", Erkenntnis, 48: 281-301.


  • The notion of transworld identity ” ˜identity across possible worlds™ ” is the notion that the same object exists in more than one possible world (with the actual world treated as one of the possible worlds).

    Transworld Identity

  • But often the shift in identity is purely for pleasure.

    First Person Plural

  • CAFFERTY: The term identity crisis has taken on a whole new meaning in this high tech age and that's because identity theft is a huge problem with very big consequences.

    CNN Transcript Apr 16, 2005

  • "A lot of people use the term identity management loosely," says John Lyons,


  • The lack of stylistic focus might hurt the label identity in a way, but my tastes are all over the map, and I think the label should reflect that to an extent.

    Side-Line news feed

  • Then, with our proximity to Indonesia and SE Asia, and the amount of trade and travel back and forth, our identity is always being challenged - although there is ingrained fear and resistance to this, even if it is not articulated.

    Cheeseburger Gothic » Because i’m hell busy.

  • Defense lawyers argue that the witness, Hussein Abebe, who the government says supplied Ghailani with explosives used to bomb the U.S. embassy in Tanzania in 1998, should be barred from the case because his identity is the fruit of the government's abuse.

    Daphne Eviatar: With Times Square Bomber Sentenced to Life, Ghailani Trial Gets Started


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