Share this entry

Share this page

impersonate

Line breaks: im|per¦son|ate
Pronunciation: /ɪmˈpəːs(ə)neɪt
 
/

Definition of impersonate in English:

verb

[with object]
Pretend to be (another person) for entertainment or fraud: it’s a very serious offence to impersonate a police officer
More example sentences
  • The technology was not designed to keep people from impersonating someone.
  • A great mimic of voice and gesture, he could impersonate anyone: rich, poor, male, female, elder, youth.
  • He claimed the KGB got revenge by sending one of their spies to Scotland to impersonate him, copying his style of dress, with orders to behave disgracefully to get him into trouble.
Synonyms
imitate, mimic, do an impression of, ape;
masquerade as, pose as, pass oneself off as, profess to be, purport to be, represent oneself as
informal take off, do, spoof, send up
North American informal make like
archaic monkey
rare personate

Origin

early 17th century (in the sense 'personify'): from in-2 'into' + Latin persona 'person', on the pattern of incorporate.

Derivatives

impersonator

1
noun
Example sentences
  • No, the modern torch-holders of Elvis' legacy are the scores of Elvis impersonators whose vaudevillian snarls and gyrations have nearly completely supplanted the real thing in the public consciousness.
  • My ideal Elvis 2000 would be a huge convention of Elvis impersonators, maybe 2000 of them, in some vast stadium, doing Mystery Train - for themselves, and for love, the way amateurs ought to do it.
  • Nan's burlesque new world of male impersonators, rent boy/girls and sinister socialites is rendered as a heavenly hell of melodrama, where a jealous cat-fight on a dancefloor is framed by flames from a sizzling steak.

Definition of impersonate in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day boscage
Pronunciation: ˈbɒskɪdʒ
noun
a mass of trees or shrubs