identity (n.)

c. 1600, "sameness, oneness, state of being the same," from French identité (14c.), from Medieval Latin identitatem (nominative identitas) "sameness," ultimately from Latin idem (neuter) "the same" (see idem). [For discussion of Latin formation, see entry in OED.] Earlier form of the word in English was idemptitie (1560s), from Medieval Latin idemptitas. Term identity crisis first recorded 1954. Identity theft attested from 1995. Identity politics is attested by 1987.

"[I]dentity politics" [is] a phrase with notably wide currency in gay and lesbian communities. In common usage, the term identity politics refers to the tendency to base one's politics on a sense of personal identity—as gay, as Jewish, as Black, as female ..... [Diana Fuss, "Essentially Speaking," 1989]

Origin and meaning of identity

updated on October 13, 2021

Definitions of identity from WordNet

identity (n.)
the distinct personality of an individual regarded as a persisting entity;
you can lose your identity when you join the army
Synonyms: personal identity / individuality
identity (n.)
the individual characteristics by which a thing or person is recognized or known;
she guessed the identity of his lover
it was too dark to determine his identity
geneticists only recently discovered the identity of the gene that causes it
identity (n.)
an operator that leaves unchanged the element on which it operates;
the identity under numerical multiplication is 1
Synonyms: identity element / identity operator
identity (n.)
exact sameness;
they shared an identity of interests
Synonyms: identicalness / indistinguishability
From, not affiliated with etymonline.