Meaning of IDENTITY in English


i ‧ den ‧ ti ‧ ty W2 AC /aɪˈdentəti, aɪˈdentɪti/ BrE AmE noun ( plural identities )

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ identification , ↑ identity ; adjective : ↑ identifiable , ↑ unidentified ; verb : ↑ identify ]

[ Date: 1500-1600 ; Language: Late Latin ; Origin: identitas , from Latin idem 'same' ]

1 . [uncountable and countable] someone’s identity is their name or who they are:

The identity of the killer is still unknown.

2 . [uncountable] the qualities and attitudes that a person or group of people have, that make them different from other people:

Children need continuity, security, and a sense of identity.

Travelling alone can lead to a loss of identity.

national/cultural/social etc identity (=a strong feeling of belonging to a particular group, race etc)

Our strong sense of national identity has been shaped by our history.

identity crisis/crisis of identity (=a feeling of uncertainty about who you really are and what your purpose is)

My father experienced an identity crisis in middle age.

3 . [uncountable] formal exact ↑ similarity between two things

• • •


■ adjectives

▪ sb’s real/true identity

The true identity of the author was not revealed until 100 years later.

▪ a new/different identity

He avoided arrest by adopting a new identity.

▪ a false identity (=when someone pretends to be another person)

He used a fake passport to assume a false identity.

■ verbs

▪ find out/discover sb’s identity

The police have yet to discover the victim’s identity.

▪ know sb’s identity

He wanted to know the identity of his real father.

▪ hide/conceal sb’s identity

She used a false name to conceal her identity.

▪ reveal/disclose sb’s identity (=show or say who a person is)

The company did not reveal the identity of the prospective buyer.

▪ give away sb’s identity (=accidentally reveal it)

The thief gave away his identity by mistake.

▪ protect sb’s identity (=make sure no one finds out who someone is)

Journalists frequently protect the identity of confidential sources.

▪ adopt/assume an identity (=give yourself a new identity )

She assumed a false identity and went to live in South America.

■ identity + NOUN

▪ identity card/papers/documents (=documents that show who you are)

Each member of staff is issued with an identity card.

▪ an identity parade British English (=when someone looks at a line of people to see if they recognize a criminal)

The victim identified her attacker from an identity parade.

▪ identity theft/fraud (=the crime of stealing another person's personal details in order to pretend to be that person)

Identity theft is becoming more and more common because of the Internet.

■ phrases

▪ proof of identity (=something that proves you are who you say you are)

You’ll need proof of identity, such as a driving licence.

▪ a case of mistaken identity (=when people think that someone is a different person, especially with the result that they are accused of something that they did not do)

The defendant claimed he’d been arrested in a case of mistaken identity.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.