personification

personificator, n.
/peuhr son'euh fi kay"sheuhn/, n.
1. the attribution of a personal nature or character to inanimate objects or abstract notions, esp. as a rhetorical figure.
2. the representation of a thing or abstraction in the form of a person, as in art.
3. the person or thing embodying a quality or the like; an embodiment or incarnation: He is the personification of tact.
4. an imaginary person or creature conceived or figured to represent a thing or abstraction.
5. the act of personifying.
6. a character portrayal or representation in a dramatic or literary work.
[1745-55; PERSONI(FY) + -FICATION]

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      figure of speech in which human characteristics are attributed to an abstract quality, animal, or inanimate object. An example is “The Moon doth with delight / Look round her when the heavens are bare” (William Wordsworth (Wordsworth, William), “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” 1807). Another is “Death lays his icy hand on kings” (James Shirley (Shirley, James), “The Glories of Our Blood and State,” 1659). Personification has been used in European poetry since Homer and is particularly common in allegory; (allegory) for example, the medieval morality play Everyman (c. 1500) and the Christian prose allegory Pilgrim's Progress (1678) by John Bunyan (Bunyan, John) contain characters such as Death, Fellowship, Knowledge, Giant Despair, Sloth, Hypocrisy, and Piety. Personification became almost an automatic mannerism in 18th-century Neoclassical poetry, as exemplified by these lines from Thomas Gray's (Gray, Thomas) “An Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard”:

Here rests his head upon the lap of earth
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown:
Fair science frowned not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy marked him for her own.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Personification — Per*son i*fi*ca tion, n. [Cf. F. personnification.] 1. The act of personifying; impersonation; embodiment. C. Knight. [1913 Webster] 2. (Rhet.) A figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstract idea is represented as animated, or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • personification — index embodiment Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • personification — 1755, noun of action from PERSONIFY (Cf. personify). Sense of embodiment of a quality in a person is attested from 1807 …   Etymology dictionary

  • personification —    The term personification comes from the Latin words persona (mask, person) and facere (to make). It is used to denote a * compound hallucination depicting a human being. Karl Jaspers (1883 1969) credits the German chemist Ludwig Staudenmaier… …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

  • personification — per|son|i|fi|ca|tion [pəˌsɔnıfıˈkeıʃən US pərˌsa: ] n 1.) the personification of sth someone who is a perfect example of a quality because they have a lot of it ▪ He became the personification of the financial excess of the 1980s. 2.) [U and C]… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • personification — [[t]pə(r)sɒ̱nɪfɪke͟ɪʃ(ə)n[/t]] personifications 1) N SING: usu the N of n If you say that someone is the personification of a particular thing or quality, you mean that they are a perfect example of that thing or that they have a lot of that… …   English dictionary

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