verb (used with object), i·den·ti·fied, i·den·ti·fy·ing.

  1. to recognize or establish as being a particular person or thing; verify the identity of: to identify handwriting; to identify the bearer of a check.
  2. to serve as a means of identification for: His gruff voice quickly identified him.
  3. to make, represent to be, or regard or treat as the same or identical: They identified Jones with the progress of the company.
  4. to associate in name, feeling, interest, action, etc. (usually followed by with): He preferred not to identify himself with that group.
  5. Biology. to determine to what group (a given specimen) belongs.
  6. Psychology. to associate (one or oneself) with another person or a group of persons by identification.

verb (used without object), i·den·ti·fied, i·den·ti·fy·ing.

  1. to associate oneself in feeling, interest, action, etc., with a specified group or belief system (usually followed by as or with): He identifies as bisexual. She identifies with feminism. My family identifies Hispanic.
  2. to experience psychological identification: The audience identified with the play’s characters.

verb -fies, -fying or -fied (mainly tr)

  1. to prove or recognize as being a certain person or thing; determine the identity of
  2. to consider as the same or equivalent
  3. (also intr often foll by with) to consider (oneself) as similar to another
  4. to determine the taxonomic classification of (a plant or animal)
  5. (intr usually foll by with) psychol to engage in identification

1804, from identify + -able. Related: Identifiably.


1640s, “regard as the same,” from French identifier, from identité (see identity). Sense of “recognize” first recorded 1769. Meaning “make one (with), associate (oneself)” is from 1780. Sense of “serve as means of identification” is attested by 1886. Related: Identified; identifying.

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