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

Definition of impersonate in English:


[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.
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


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

  • person from Middle English:

    When first used in English person meant ‘a role or character assumed in real life or in a play’ as well as ‘an individual human being’. The first sense has largely been taken over by persona, which came directly in the mid 18th century from the source of person, Latin persona ‘actor's mask, character in a play’, and also ‘human being’. The Latin term was also used by Christian writers as a term for the rector of a parish, what we would now call a parson (Middle English). From the same source come impersonate (early 17th century) originally meaning ‘personify’, and personnel (early 19th century) from French and which still keeps the original stress on the final syllable normal in that language.

Words that rhyme with impersonate

Definition of impersonate in:
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