AskDefine | Define identity

Dictionary Definition



1 the distinct personality of an individual regarded as a persisting entity; "you can lose your identity when you join the army" [syn: personal identity, individuality]
2 the individual characteristics by which a thing or person is recognized or known; "geneticists only recently discovered the identity of the gene that causes it"; "it was too dark to determine his identity"; "she guessed the identity of his lover"
3 an operator that leaves unchanged the element on which it operates; "the identity under numerical multiplication is 1" [syn: identity element, identity operator]
4 exact sameness; "they shared an identity of interests" [syn: identicalness, indistinguishability]

User Contributed Dictionary



Learned borrowing from Vulgar Latin identitas, ultimately from Classical Latin idem meaning "the same".


  1. The sameness some individuals share to make up the same kind or universal.
  2. The difference or character that marks off an individual from the rest of the same kind.
  3. A name or persona by which one is known.
    This criminal has taken on several identities
  4. Knowledge of who one is.
    I've been through so many changes, I have no sense of identity.
    This nation has a strong identity.
  5. Any function which maps all elements of its domain to themselves.
  6. An element of an algebraic structure which, when applied to another element under an operation in that structure, yields this, second element.


Extensive Definition


Social science and psychology

In some countries where there is more than one "nation" in the state or identity is otherwise confused, there may be a debate over what the nation's real identity is, see:


  • Accounting identity, a basic accounting relation that must hold by definition
  • Corporate identity, the physical manifestation of a business brand
  • Identity theft, the deliberate appropriation of someone else's identity (without that person's permission) for criminal purposes

Computer science


Television, film, music and literature

identity in Spanish: Identidad
identity in French: Identité
identity in Italian: Identità
identity in Dutch: Identiteit
identity in Japanese: アイデンティティー
identity in Polish: Tożsamość
identity in Russian: Тождество
identity in Simple English: Identity
identity in Slovenian: Identiteta
identity in Finnish: Identiteetti (täsmennyssivu)
identity in Swedish: Identitet

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accord, accordance, affinity, agape, agreement, alikeness, alliance, amity, analogy, aping, approach, approximation, assimilation, balance, bonds of harmony, brotherly love, caritas, cement of friendship, charity, closeness, coequality, coextension, combination, communion, community, community of interests, comparability, comparison, compatibility, concord, concordance, conformity, congeniality, congruence, copying, correspondence, credo, creed, differentiation, differentness, distinctiveness, egohood, empathy, equality, equation, equilibrium, equipoise, equipollence, equiponderance, equity, equivalence, equivalency, esprit, esprit de corps, evenness, feeling of identity, fellow feeling, fellowship, frictionlessness, fusion, good vibes, good vibrations, happy family, harmony, human factor, ideology, imitation, indistinguishability, individualism, individuality, indivisibility, intactness, integrality, integration, integrity, inviolability, irreducibility, justice, kinship, levelness, like-mindedness, likeness, likening, love, metaphor, mimicking, mutuality, nearness, nominalism, nonconformity, oneness, organic unity, outlook, par, parallelism, parity, particularism, particularity, peace, personal equation, personal identity, personality, personship, philosophy, poise, proportion, purity, rapport, rapprochement, reciprocity, resemblance, sameness, self-identity, selfhood, selfness, selfsameness, semblance, sharing, similarity, simile, similitude, simplicity, simulation, singleness, singularity, solidarity, solidification, solidity, soul, symmetry, sympathy, symphony, team spirit, unanimity, understanding, undividedness, unification, uniformity, union, uniqueness, unison, unity, univocity, view, weltanschauung, wholeness
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