synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of identify in English

English Online Dictionary. What means identify‎? What does identify mean?



From French identifier, from Medieval Latin identicus + Latin faciō.


  • IPA(key): /aɪˈdɛnt.ɪf.aɪ/, /ɪˈdɛnt.ɪf.aɪ/
  • Hyphenation: i‧dent‧if‧y


identify (third-person singular simple present identifies, present participle identifying, simple past and past participle identified)

  1. (transitive) To establish the identity of.
  2. (transitive) To disclose the identity of someone.
  3. (transitive, biology) To establish the taxonomic classification of an organism.
  4. (transitive) To equate or make the same; to unite or combine into one.
    • 1809, David Ramsay, History of South Carolina
      Every precaution is taken to identify the interests of the people and of the rulers.
    • 18 February, 1780, Edmund Burke, Speech on Economical Reform
      Let us identify, let us incorporate ourselves with the people.
  5. (reflexive) To have a strong affinity with; to feel oneself to be modelled on or connected to.
    • 1999, Joyce Crick, translating Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, Oxford 2008, p. 117:
      The dream is given a new interpretation if in her dream she means not herself but her friend, if she has put herself in the place of her friend, or, as we may say, she has identified [transl. identifiziert] herself with her. (Der Traum erhält eine neue Deutung, wenn sie im Traum nicht sich, sondern die Freundin meint, wenn sie sich an die Stelle der Freundin gesetzt oder, wie wir sagen können, sich mit ihr identifiziert hat.)
    • 2012, Christoper Zara, Tortured Artists: From Picasso and Monroe to Warhol and Winehouse, the Twisted Secrets of the World's Most Creative Minds, part 1, chapter 1, 29
      Cash endures because his most well-known songs—“I Walk the Line” and “Ring of Fire” among them—weave deeply personal narratives with which listeners of all stripes can effortlessly identify.
  6. (intransitive) To associate oneself with some group.
  7. (intransitive) To claim an identity; to describe oneself as a member of a group; to assert the use of a particular term to describe oneself.


  • to ID

Related terms

  • identic
  • identical
  • identification
  • identifier
  • identifyee
  • identity
  • identify with


Further reading

  • identify in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • identify in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • identify at OneLook Dictionary Search

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.