Definition of identity in English:


Syllabification: i·den·ti·ty
Pronunciation: /ˌīˈden(t)ədē

noun (plural identities)

1The fact of being who or what a person or thing is: he knows the identity of the bombers she believes she is the victim of mistaken identity
More example sentences
  • In fact, her identity as a citizen in urban India is one that is minimally developed, if at all.
  • It doesn't matter that the joke is about mistaken identity or the fact that they're chasing the wrong vehicle - Atkinson can make you laugh at it anyway.
  • Being one of the king's personal guests had given them a special status despite the fact that their identities had yet to be given.
name, ID; specificationidentification, recognition, naming, singling out
1.1The characteristics determining this: attempts to define a distinct Canadian identity
More example sentences
  • That is, what about people who deliberately disrupt the continuity that ordinarily characterizes our identity?
  • My appreciation of this country stems from the fact that our national identity is impossible to pin down.
  • What should be one of the most important facts of our national identity is instead one of the government's most closely guarded secrets!
individuality, self, selfhood; personality, character, originality, distinctiveness, differentness, singularity, uniqueness
1.2 [as modifier] chiefly British (Of an object) serving to establish who the holder, owner, or wearer is by bearing their name and often other details such as a signature or photograph: an identity card
More example sentences
  • Tickets issued at student fares are only valid for travel in conjunction with a valid student identity card bearing a photograph of the holder.
  • Young people across South Lakeland and Furness are being encouraged by police to carry photograph identity cards to prove their age.
  • All candidates were expected to have identity cards bearing their photographs to prevent other people sitting examinations for them.
2A close similarity or affinity: the initiative created an identity between the city and the suburbs
More example sentences
  • There is a close identity between Celtic FC and Roman Catholicism, and also between Rangers FC and Scottish cultural Protestantism.
  • Westmorland claims a close identity with aviation pioneering, the jubilee of which is being celebrated this week.
  • In the present case the Inspector had based his earlier conclusion on the close identity between the Company and the Second Respondent.
3 Mathematics (also identity operation) A transformation that leaves an object unchanged.
More example sentences
  • Any object, indeed any molecule, will contain at least one of these symmetry elements - the operation C 1 known as the identity operation - a rotation of 360°, the equivalent of doing nothing.
  • The table gives the result of all possible pairwise combinations of the four operations I, R, P and Y (which stand for the identity operation and for 180-degree rotations around the roll, pitch and yaw axes).
3.1 (also identity element) An element of a set that, if combined with another element by a specified binary operation, leaves that element unchanged.
More example sentences
  • Group theory studies not a single structure, but a type of structure, the pattern common to collections of objects with a binary operation, an identity element thereon, and inverses for each element.
  • First, among the operations there must be an identity element - an operation that leaves the system unchanged.
  • For example, the collection of integers under addition is a group (the identity element is 0), and groups occur throughout mathematics from geometry to combinatorics to cryptography.
4 Mathematics The equality of two expressions for all values of the quantities expressed by letters, or an equation expressing this, e.g., (x + 1)2 = x2 + 2x + 1.
More example sentences
  • Identity and equality are two fundamental binary relations which relate expressions of a given type.


late 16th century (in the sense 'quality of being identical'): from late Latin identitas, from Latin idem 'same'.

Definition of identity in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day ween
Pronunciation: wēn
be of the opinion; think or suppose