Get Your Premium Membership

Personification Definition

A form of poetry in which human characteristics are attributed to nonhuman things. Personification offers the poet a way to give the world life and motion by assigning familiar human behaviors and emotions to animals, inanimate objects, and abstract ideas.


A personification poem is a poem that puts life to inanimate objects. Personification itself is not the name of the type of poetry, but the name of the literary device used in these particular poems. In a personification poem, you may find that thing such as beds, chairs, and more will be described as having thoughts or emotions that only human beings can possess. Personification is not anchored solely to inanimate objects, these features can be applied to animals as well.

Personification is used to highlight a point or thought made so that a reader can have a deeper grasp on what the poet has to tell them. For example, a commonly used line consisting of personification outside of poetry used daily would be, "I had to finally sit down, my feet were screaming in pain." Using personification can further impact the point made and in poetry it can light up a world of magic and wonder for those reading. 

Personification Poem Example

Fog
Carl Sandburg (1878–1967).

THE FOG comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches 5
and then moves on.

Other Personification Definition

[n] the act of attributing human characteristics to abstract ideas etc.
[n] representing an abstract quality or idea as a person or creature
[n] a person who represents an abstract quality; "she is the personification of optimism"


More below...



Misc. Definitions

\Per*son`i*fi*ca"tion\, n. [Cf. F. personnification.]
1. The act of personifying; impersonation; embodiment. --C. Knight.
2. (Rhet.) A figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstract idea is represented as animated, or endowed with personality; prosopop?ia; as, the floods clap their hands. ``Confusion heards his voice.'' --Milton.

More Personification Links:
Link to this Personification definition/page: