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Porcelain personifications of the continents (from left to right): America, Europe, Africa and Asia, from circa 1780-1788
Rococo set of personification figurines of the Four Elements, from the 1760s


person(ify) +‎ -ification.


  • IPA(key): /pɚˌsɑ.nə.fəˈkeɪ.ʃən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃən


personification (countable and uncountable, plural personifications)

  1. A person, thing or name typifying a certain quality or idea; an embodiment or exemplification.
    Adolf Hitler was the personification of anti-Semitism.
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], OCLC 21345056, page 12:
      He might have sat for a personification of fear: if he moved, he seemed rather afraid of his own shadow following him too closely; if he laughed, he soon checked himself, quite alarmed at the sound.
  2. A literary device in which an inanimate object or an idea is given human qualities.
    The writer used personification to convey her ideas.
  3. An artistic representation of an abstract quality as a human
    The Grim Reaper is a personification of death.

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