One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Play the part of (a character in a drama)‘here was our village cobbler in a French uniform, personating the general’
play the part of, play, act the part of, take the role of, act, represent, appear asView synonyms
- ‘Especially since it is so simple: One performer personates Noël; the other, Gertie.’
- ‘It had been agreed that, in their escape, she was to personate the character of a Creole lady, and Emmeline that of her servant.’
- 1.1 Pretend to be (someone else), especially for fraudulent purposes such as casting a vote in another person's name.‘he personated the king’no object ‘he found himself personating at an election’
claim, lay claim, profess, pretendView synonyms
- ‘He had acted as personating agent for the party at successive elections and was always to the fore at Church gate collections and fund raising events.’
- ‘The clever rogues who had employed him and personated the members of the honourable firm were never traced.’
- ‘Now that he has put on Christ, he personates Him, so to speak, as a beggar in borrowed robes represents a king on the stage, walking as he also walked.’
- ‘Legitimate voters were refused a vote when they turned up at the polling station because someone else had personated them.’
Late 16th century: from late Latin personat- ‘represented by acting’, from Latin persona ‘mask’ (see person).
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