AskDefine | Define impersonate

Dictionary Definition



1 assume or act the character of; "She impersonates Madonna"; "The actor portrays an elderly, lonely man" [syn: portray]
2 represent another person with comic intentions
3 pretend to be someone you are not; sometimes with fraudulent intentions; "She posed as the Czar's daughter" [syn: pose, personate]

User Contributed Dictionary



From im- + Latin persona ‘person’ + -ate, modelled on incorporate.




  1. To manifest in corporeal form, or in one's own person or body.
  2. To pretend to be (a different person), to assume the identity of.
    The conman managed to impersonate several executives.




  1. second-person plural present tense of impersonare
  2. second-person plural imperative of impersonare
  3. feminine plural past participle of impersonare

Extensive Definition

An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for someone to be an Impersonator, the most common could be:
  • Legally: An entertainer impersonates a celebrity, generally for entertainment, and makes fun of their recent scandals or known behavior patterns. Entertainers who impersonate multiple celebrities as part of their act are typically called impressionists.
  • Illegally: As part of a criminal act such as identity theft. This is usually where the criminal is trying to assume the identity of another in order to commit fraud such as accessing confidential information or to gain property not belonging to them. Also known as social engineering.
  • Political decoy, used as a form of protection for political and military figures. This involves an impersonator who is employed (or forced) to perform during public appearances, to mislead observers.
impersonate in German: Imitator
impersonate in French: Imitateur
impersonate in Hebrew: התחזות
impersonate in Dutch: Imitator
impersonate in Japanese: 物真似
impersonate in Norwegian: Imitator
impersonate in Portuguese: Imitador
impersonate in Swedish: Imitation

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

act, act a part, act as, act out, adumbrate, ape, body forth, copy, copycat, create a role, demonstrate, depict, discourse, do, embody, enact, exemplify, figure, foreshadow, hit off, hit off on, illustrate, image, incarnate, make false pretenses, masquerade as, mime, mimic, mirror, mock, pantomime, parrot, pass for, perform, personate, personify, play, play a part, play a role, play opposite, playact, portray, pose as, prefigure, pretend to be, pretypify, project, realize, reflect, represent, shadow, shadow forth, support, sustain a part, take a part, take off, take off on
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