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

  • transitive v. To think of or represent (an inanimate object or abstraction) as having personality or the qualities, thoughts, or movements of a living being: "To make history or psychology alive I personify it” ( Anaïs Nin).
  • transitive v. To represent (an object or abstraction) by a human figure.
  • transitive v. To represent (an abstract quality or idea): This character personifies evil.
  • transitive v. To be the embodiment or perfect example of: "Stalin now personified bolshevism in the eyes of the world” ( A.J.P. Taylor).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To be an example of; to have all the attributes of.
  • v. To create a representation of an abstract quality in the form of a literary character.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To regard, treat, or represent as a person; to represent as a rational being.
  • transitive v. To be the embodiment or personification of; to impersonate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To treat or regard as a person; represent as a rational being; treat, for literary purposes, as if endowed with the sentiments, actions, or language of a rational being or person, or, for artistic purposes, as if having a human form and nature.
  • To impersonate; be an impersonation or embodiment of: as, he personifies all that is mean.

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

  • v. invest with or as with a body; give body to
  • v. represent, as of a character on stage
  • v. attribute human qualities to something


French personnifier, from personne, person, from Old French persone; see person.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • Mr. Polshek said he had been preparing for his transition out of the firm for years and had seen firsthand the downside of having one name personify a practice.

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  • Steve: it is quote common to personify firms this way in the English language to refer to the owners and/or managers of thefirm.

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  • Steve says: it is quote common to personify firms this way in the English language to refer to the owners and/or managers of thefirm.

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  • If you personify the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control—everything you do will have a positive impact for God as well as for everyone in your life.

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  • These players personify strength, resilience, and a certain kind of footballing integrity in sufficient quantity to overcome individual defects, such as Robson's drinking or Cantona's quixotic nature.

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  • Palin, who helped put the Tea Party on the map, and her protegee O'Donnell, best personify the new breed of Republican: charming, attractive, angry non-intellects who mock education, science and logic, while claiming "I am you" in an effort to identify with average voters.

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  • And we seem to be set to meet a bunch of other robotic dolls that personify a variety of gradations of good and evil.

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  • This week revealed one of the businesses underbellies, and who better to personify that than Newman from Seinfeld!

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  • Awards are presented to artists and other individuals who excel in their professional settings; who personify excellence on the national, state, or local level; and who have demonstrated a commitment to cultural diversity, understanding and unity in the arts.

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  • I guess the main difference between me and you is that I don't think it's necessary to put names on any of it, or personify it in any way, or to require others to do so.

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  • The very word that neutered himify and herify.

    February 16, 2008