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
• • •
▪ 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.
▪ 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.
▪ 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. 2012