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From identic +‎ -al.


  • IPA(key): /ɪˈdɛntɪkl̩/, /aɪˈdɛntɪkl̩/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: i‧den‧ti‧cal


identical (comparative more identical, superlative most identical)

  1. (not comparable) Bearing full likeness by having precisely the same set of characteristics; indistinguishable.
    • 1911, “Bank-Notes”, in Encyclopædia Britannica:
      By this means as many absolutely identical plates can be produced as may be required, and being hardened they will yield a very large number of prints without any appreciable deterioration.
    • 1972, James H. Rossell, William Wayne Frasure, Managerial Accounting:
      For example, assume that 10000 identical chairs were produced through incurring the following costs:...
    • 1988, John Byrum, Cells:
      The zygote soon divides into two identical cells.
  2. (not comparable) Not different or other; not another or others; not different as regards self; selfsame; numerically identical.
    • ?, Charles Dickens, The Pantomime of Life:
      The best of the joke, too, is, that the very coal-merchant who is loudest in his complaints against the person who defrauded him, is the identical man who sat in the centre of the very front row of the pit last night and laughed the most boisterously at this very same thing,--and not so well done either.
    • 1911, Arthur William Holland, “Habsburg”, in Encyclopædia Britannica:
      These men were grandsons of a certain Guntram, who, according to some authorities, is identical with a Count Guntram who flourished during the reign of the emperor Otto the Great, and whose ancestry can be traced back to the time of the Merovingian kings.
    • 1922, Petronius, Satyricon, translation of original by W. C. Firebaugh:
      Nor could I myself look upon this man without some emotion, for he seemed to be the identical person who had picked up the ragged tunic in the lonely wood, and, as a matter of fact, he was!
  3. (not comparable, biology) Of twins, sharing the same genetic code.
  4. (not comparable, mathematics) Exactly equivalent.
  5. (comparable, rare) Approximating or approaching exact equivalence.

Usage notes[edit]

  • In mathematics, this adjective can be used in phrases like "A and B are identical", "A is identical to B", and, less commonly, "A is identical with B".
  • Adverbs often used with "identical": absolutely, almost, nearly, practically, virtually, substantially.



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identical (plural identicals)

  1. (usually pluralized, chiefly philosophy) Something which has exactly the same properties as something else.
  2. An identical twin.

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