Definition of identify in English:



  • 1Establish or indicate who or what (someone or something) is.

    ‘the judge ordered that the girl not be identified’
    ‘the contact would identify himself simply as Cobra’
    • ‘The defendant was identified as the person who had broken the window and he was arrested.’
    • ‘Last week, he finally buried his niece, after a delay in identifying her disfigured body.’
    • ‘It is understood the delay lies in formally identifying the remains.’
    • ‘He said that at the moment the head of a household filled in a postal registration form identifying all voters in the property.’
    • ‘She did not know the name of the person at the bar, but could only identify the person as a male.’
    • ‘The banks on the list will be exempt from identifying each individual client.’
    • ‘The problem is and has always been the difficulty in actually identifying a young person's age.’
    • ‘It also helped in identifying them; learning how they behaved, what they ate and so on.’
    • ‘The girl's mother had to listen to the tape to identify the voice of her daughter.’
    • ‘Social workers used these indicators to identify a local family as satanic abusers.’
    • ‘Under the scheme, face, iris and fingerprint scans will be used to identify people.’
    • ‘On this occasion we were able to identify a couple of people and made an arrest the next day.’
    • ‘If we do decide to seek further clarification, then we will do so without identifying you in any shape or form whatsoever.’
    • ‘By a dozen unquestionable marks he identified the girl he had jested with the day before.’
    • ‘Pupils will learn how to identify plants and explore the ways that seeds can be dispersed.’
    • ‘Scientists now hope research into the gene will enable them to identify people most at risk.’
    • ‘The images captured could also be useful in identifying people involved in other crimes.’
    • ‘Quickly identifying the venue, I politely greet the doorman, before signing in the guest book.’
    • ‘We are also working with the other school to identify this person and solve the problem.’
    • ‘He appealed to the public to help in identifying people in the community who are supplying drugs.’
    recognize, single out, pick out, spot, point out, pinpoint, pin down, put one's finger on, put a name to, name, place, know, know again, know by sight, discern, distinguish, discover, find, locate
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    1. 1.1Recognize or distinguish (especially something considered worthy of attention)
      ‘a system that ensures that the student's real needs are identified’
      • ‘There will be a prize for the first person to correctly identify my rash statement.’
      • ‘By identifying the faulty cameras, we lay ourselves open to the accusation of encouraging criminality.’
      • ‘Quinnie passed the hours by identifying the countries that have won even fewer medals than us.’
      • ‘Now we are using the workshops to identify young people who can appear in the film.’
      • ‘For about two years now, the paper has run a column identifying its own errors and shortcomings.’
      • ‘They work closely with health professionals, identifying people who would benefit.’
      • ‘Piaget is known for identifying the stages children go through as they mature.’
      • ‘Perhaps one day we will be able to identify a gene that drives people to compulsively kill.’
      • ‘Sensitivity refers to how good a test is at correctly identifying people who have the disease.’
      • ‘Investigators were yesterday beginning the painstaking task of identifying the cause of the disaster.’
      • ‘A committee of five children has been elected to help steer the scheme, identifying areas where work is needed.’
      • ‘By watching the workings of our own mind we can learn how to identify these delusions.’
      • ‘The International Labour Organisation identifies the following factors that indicate forced labour.’
      • ‘He is identifying questions he raised about the use of psychology in an article of his.’
      • ‘Because of the problems in identifying the infection early, the disease spread.’
      • ‘People who properly identify the source of my name rise tremendously in my estimation.’
      • ‘He is also quite correct in identifying future water problems in some areas of North America.’
      • ‘Before we can identify any turning points, it is necessary to establish a starting point.’
      • ‘Police are also examining his personal relationships to identify any reason for a grudge.’
      • ‘Census data might be used to identify the number of people who should be in each subgroup.’
      determine, establish, ascertain, find out, discover, learn, fix, settle, decide, make out, ferret out, diagnose, deduce, divine, intuit, discern, distinguish
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    2. 1.2[no object]Assign (a particular characteristic or categorization) to oneself; describe oneself as belonging to (a particular category or group)
      ‘she identifies as a feminist’
      ‘3.2% of the men identified as gay or bisexual’
  • 2Associate (someone) closely with; regard (someone) as having strong links with.

    ‘he was equivocal about being identified too closely with the peace movement’
    • ‘Neither of those titans, however, are as indelibly linked to a single work the way Fitzgerald is identified with Gatsby; none of their works is a set text on as many high school or college courses.’
    • ‘Berlin seems to have believed in such a faculty, and identified it with empathy, but did not develop this view in his writings.’
    • ‘People closely identified the war with western corporate greed.’
    • ‘Someone who can be a strong advocate for the church which our school is identified with.’
    • ‘It has become comfortable to identify the term SAN with FC communications, but this has historically caused problems… and the problems are coming to roost.’
    • ‘That was the first step, to make that proposal to them, identify a face with the name, understand the terms of the deal, etc.’
    • ‘In political associations, the object of each man, is to identify his creed with that of his neighbor.’
    • ‘It has bitterly disappointed working class voters and its core supporters, who identified it with significant social reforms 20 years ago.’
    • ‘There is also a strong tendency to identify the court with absolute rule.’
    • ‘Leah, as feminist, takes issue with Hebrew as the language of ‘our fathers’ and closely identifies it with the father who rejected her.’
    • ‘They are commodities that, in their mere visible presence veil the production process, and - like mood pictures - encourage their beholders to identify them with subjective fantasies and dreams.’
    • ‘Similarly Barthes identifies the ageless photograph with mourning, and de Man in a quotation above associates particularity with both random energy and ‘the power of death.’’
    • ‘They did not regard big US brands as identifying them with America itself.’
    • ‘Demand for fundamental political reform became an established fact, and this demand was identified with support for the peace process.’
    • ‘Grog-tempered pottery associated with the burials recovered from the site identify the occupation with the Miller Three complex, A.D.600-1000.’
    • ‘The US government has identified their military power with US corporate power so closely that a major American defeat would weaken every general, senior manager and privatiser on the globe.’
    • ‘Blacks don't identify the right with lower taxes or a strong national defense.’
    • ‘Perhaps the need was to identify trailblazers with the creatures and natives always associated with trail; westering families would enter the country already with indigenous credentials.’
    • ‘When physicists write or say ‘as Newton/Einstein/Bohr/Feynman once said…’, it immediately gives them authority by closely identifying them with one of the giants of physics - or so they think.’
    • ‘An example of the last condition is the case of the mother who strongly identifies her son with a past abusive partner, ex-husband or other male figure.’
    associate, link, connect, couple, relate, bracket, think of together
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    1. 2.1Equate (someone or something) with.
      ‘because of my upstate accent, people identified me with a homely farmer's wife’
      • ‘Baudelaire identified the modern with the Now and, if not quite co-extensively then relatedly, with the New.’
      • ‘The Romans identified her with Minerva, a goddess of the household and of craftsmen.’
      equate with, identify someone as, consider someone to be, consider something to be, regard as being the same as, regard as being identical to
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    2. 2.2[no object]Regard oneself as sharing the same characteristics or thinking as someone else.
      ‘I liked Fromm and identified with him’
      • ‘Little kids held their figures aloft, and mommy and daddy beamed at how their kids were identifying with the soldiers.’
      • ‘I have probably experienced my fair share of loss, and maybe I do identify with that.’
      • ‘The prospect of identifying with a lead or co-lead, however, seemed beyond her ability to even imagine.’
      • ‘He urges us to identify with them and share their inmost hopes and fears, their solitude.’
      • ‘His whole career has been based on identifying with the marginal and empathizing with those whom polite society would scorn.’
      • ‘He didn't experience Stockholm syndrome, identifying with triumphant soldiers roaring by in impetuous tanks.’
      • ‘Its aim is to make the viewer, identifying with the lovers, feel good.’
      • ‘By identifying with the characters in the book, children enjoy vicarious experiences without having to run any risk.’
      • ‘In other words, the cross is no more than Jesus identifying with our suffering, sharing in the pathos of it.’
      • ‘We identify with the characters, even if some of them are not very nice, and others plain nasty.’
      • ‘The audience must identify with one of the characters, before becoming involved in the story.’
      • ‘Horror movies are not all about identifying with the characters though.’
      • ‘I would suspect that the program divided most of those who watched it, into two groups, one identifying with Orwell and one with Churchill.’
      • ‘The main avenue by which Muldrow identifies with animals and their characteristics is dreaming.’
      • ‘Living in a village myself I can almost identify with the characters in the Curmudgeon.’
      • ‘Just my habit of identifying with minor characters, I think.’
      • ‘By identifying with particular groups of people, we can join those voices into one loud voice to shout one message.’
      • ‘It turns out that she identifies with them, and understands what they must feel, since it hurt her deeply when Mozambique fell to the Marxists.’
      • ‘There's nothing in the story that a child can actually relate to and identify with.’
      • ‘It's that audiences are identifying with this play because it's about a family and about the disorder in a family.’
      empathize, be in tune, have a rapport, feel togetherness, feel at one, commune, sympathize, be in sympathy
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Mid 17th century (in the sense treat as being identical with): from medieval Latin identificare, from late Latin identitas (see identity) + Latin -ficare (from facere make).