1640s, "regard as the same," from French identifier, from identité (see identity). Sense of "determine the identity of, recognize as or prove to be the same" first recorded 1769. Meaning "make one (with), associate (oneself), regard oneself as being the essence of" is from 1780. Sense of "serve as means of identification" is attested by 1886. Related: Identified; identifying.
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