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Impersonate vs. Personate: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on September 21, 2023
Impersonate means to pretend to be someone else for deception, while Personate refers to representing or embodying a character or quality.

Key Differences

Impersonate and Personate, while similar, possess distinct nuances. Impersonate typically involves mimicking or pretending to be someone else, usually for deception. On the other hand, Personate can mean representing a character or embodying a certain quality without the deceptive element.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023
In the realm of entertainment, actors might Personate a character from a script, giving them life and emotions. In contrast, someone might Impersonate a celebrity, copying their voice, mannerisms, and looks, sometimes for comedic effect or to deceive others.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023
In legal contexts, Impersonate usually has a negative connotation, indicating fraudulent activities like impersonating a police officer. Personate, while less common in this context, can also mean assuming another's identity, but it doesn't always imply a malicious intent.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023
Historically, both Impersonate and Personate were used interchangeably, but modern usage has given them their separate identities. Today, Impersonate is more widely recognized and used, whereas Personate is rarer and might sound archaic to some.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023
Both terms revolve around the act of taking on another identity or character. However, it's crucial to note the underlying motivation: Impersonate often carries deceptive undertones, while Personate leans more towards representation without deceit.
Janet White
Sep 21, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Main Purpose

To pretend to be someone else for deception
To represent or embody a character or quality
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023

Common Usage

In deception, mimicry, entertainment
In acting, embodying qualities
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023

Connotation

Often negative (fraudulent)
Neutral or positive
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023

Historical Usage

Used interchangeably with Personate
Same as Impersonate
Sara Rehman
Sep 21, 2023

Frequency in Modern Language

More common
Less common, sometimes considered archaic
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023
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Impersonate and Personate Definitions

Impersonate

To mimic or portray someone else, often to deceive.
He tried to Impersonate the CEO to gain access to the office.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 21, 2023

Personate

To embody a particular quality or attribute.
He can Personate kindness and compassion in all situations.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023

Impersonate

To act or perform as another character, especially in entertainment.
The comedian can Impersonate several celebrities.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 21, 2023

Personate

To personify or give human characteristics to.
The story Personates nature as a caring mother.
Harlon Moss
Sep 21, 2023

Impersonate

To assume the identity of another with fraudulent intentions.
Scammers often Impersonate government officials over the phone.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023

Personate

To represent or act as a character, especially in a play.
She will Personate Cleopatra in the upcoming theater production.
Harlon Moss
Sep 21, 2023

Impersonate

To feign the appearance or characteristics of someone else.
He can Impersonate his twin brother perfectly.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 21, 2023

Personate

To assume the character or appearance of, especially without fraudulent intent.
For the historical reenactment, he will Personate a Civil War general.
Janet White
Sep 21, 2023

Impersonate

To resemble or look like another person or character.
With that makeup, she can Impersonate any Hollywood actress.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 21, 2023

Personate

To play the role or portray the part of (a character).
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Impersonate

To assume the character or appearance of, especially fraudulently
Impersonate a police officer.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

To assume the character or appearance of, especially fraudulently; impersonate.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Impersonate

To imitate the appearance, voice, or manner of; mimic
An entertainer who impersonates celebrities.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

Having two lips, with the throat closed by a prominent palate. Used of a corolla, such as that of the snapdragon.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Impersonate

(transitive) To pretend to be (a different person); to assume the identity of.
The conman managed to impersonate several executives.
Evil can and will always impersonate goodness.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

(transitive) To fraudulently portray another person; to impersonate.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Impersonate

To operate with the permissions of a different user account.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

(transitive) To portray a character (as in a play); to act.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Impersonate

To manifest in corporeal form; to personify.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

(transitive) To attribute personal characteristics to something; to personify.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Impersonate

To invest with personality; to endow with the form of a living being.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

(transitive) To set forth in an unreal character; to disguise; to mask.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Impersonate

To ascribe the qualities of a person to; to personify.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

To celebrate loudly; to extol; to praise.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Impersonate

To assume, or to represent, the person or character of; to personate; as, he impersonated Macbeth.
Benedict impersonated his age.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

Having the throat of a corolla nearly closed by a projection of the base of the lower lip (in a way reminiscent of a mask), as in the flower of the snapdragon.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Impersonate

Assume or act the character of;
She impersonates Madonna
The actor portrays an elderly, lonely man
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

To celebrate loudly; to extol; to praise.
In fable, hymn, or song so personatingTheir gods ridiculous.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Impersonate

Represent another person with comic intentions
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

To assume the character of; to represent by a fictitious appearance; to act the part of; hence, to counterfeit; to feign; as, he tried to personate his brother; a personated devotion.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Impersonate

Pretend to be someone you are not; sometimes with fraudulent intentions;
She posed as the Czar's daughter
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

To set forth in an unreal character; to disguise; to mask.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

To personify; to typify; to describe.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

To play or assume a character.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

Having the throat of a bilabiate corolla nearly closed by a projection of the base of the lower lip; masked, as in the flower of the snapdragon.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

Pretend to be someone you are not; sometimes with fraudulent intentions;
She posed as the Czar's daughter
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

Attribute human qualities to something;
The Greeks personated their gods ridiculous
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 14, 2022

Personate

To depict or portray in a particular manner or aspect.
The painting Personates the queen in her younger days.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023

FAQs

What does Impersonate mean?

Impersonate means to pretend to be someone else, especially for deceptive purposes.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023

How does Personate differ from Impersonate?

Personate refers to representing or embodying a character or quality, often without deceptive intent.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023

Is Impersonating someone illegal?

Impersonating someone with intent to deceive or commit fraud is illegal in many jurisdictions.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023

Can an actor be said to Impersonate a character?

While actors can Impersonate real people, they usually Personate fictional characters.
Janet White
Sep 21, 2023

What is the main negative connotation of Impersonate?

Impersonate often implies deceit or fraud.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023

Can one Personate feelings or emotions?

Yes, one can Personate feelings by embodying or representing them genuinely.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023

In what contexts might Personate be used?

Personate can be used in acting, literature, or when referring to embodying qualities or characteristics.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023

Are there synonyms for Impersonate?

Yes, mimic, imitate, and simulate are a few synonyms.
Harlon Moss
Sep 21, 2023

Can Personate be used in a positive context?

Yes, Personate can be used to describe representing or embodying a character or quality positively.
Janet White
Sep 21, 2023

Which term is more common in everyday language?

Impersonate is more commonly used than Personate in modern English.
Sara Rehman
Sep 21, 2023

Is Personate an outdated term?

While still understood, Personate is less common and might be considered archaic by some.
Harlon Moss
Sep 21, 2023

How did the usage of these terms evolve?

Historically, they were used interchangeably, but modern usage has distinguished them.
Harlon Moss
Sep 21, 2023

Does Personate always imply a genuine representation?

Not always, but it generally lacks the deceptive undertones of Impersonate.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023

Are there synonyms for Personate?

Represent, embody, and depict can be synonyms for Personate.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 21, 2023

Is it wrong to use Personate when referring to deceptive acts?

While not technically wrong, using Impersonate would be clearer when referring to deception.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 21, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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