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to assume the identity of another person with intent to deceive.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

TO PERSONATE, crim. law. The act of assuming the character of another without lawful authority, and, in such character, doing something to his prejudice, or to the prejudice of another, without his will or consent.
     2. The bare fact of personating another for the purpose of fraud, is no more than a cheat or misdemeanor at common law, and punishable as such. 2 East, P. C. 1010; 2 Russ. on Cr. 479.
     3. By the act of congress of the 30th April, 1790, s. 15, 1 Story's Laws U. S. 86, it is enacted, that "if any person shall acknowledge, or procure to be acknowledged in any court of the United States, any recognizance, bail or judgment, in the name or names of any other person or persons not privy or consenting to the same, every such person or persons, on conviction thereof, shall be fined not exceeding five thousand dollars, or be imprisoned not exceeding seven years, and whipped not exceeding thirty-nine stripes, Provided nevertheless. that this act shall not extend to the acknowledgment of any judgment or judgments by any attorney or attorneys, duly admitted, for any person or persons against whom any such judgment or judgments shall be bad or given." Vide, generally, 2 John. Cas. 293; 16 Vin. Ab. 336; Com. Dig. Action on the case for a deceit, A 3.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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at the end of which--a little figure personating Fame with the trumpet--will descend and place the wreath of immortality on his head, at which moment four representatives of Europe, Asia, Africa and America with Banners inscribed will group around him, forming a beautiful allegorical Tableau.
While playwrights condemn "mimick action," Thomas Heywood famously praises an actor for personating "as though he were the man personated" (Chambers 4: 251); the revelatory "as though" points up the fundamentally imitative habit of "playing a part to the life." In A Treatise of the Passions and Faculties of the Soule of Man (written 1625, published 15 years later), Edward Reynolds likens men who know their desires to be base but cannot control them to "the Stage-Player, whose Knowledge is expresse and cleare enough, but the things which it is conversant about, are not personall and particular to those men, but belonging unto others, whom they personate" (71).
The loathsome sight of men of [sic] personating characters which do not and cannot belong to them."(13) By contrast, the introspective poet believed himself equal to representing the violent passions of the (as we shall see) highly theatrical Cenci family.
A similar "miracle" took place during Anne's entry into Edinburgh in May 1590, in which historical figures "personating all the previous kings of Scotland" awaken at the royal couple's approach (Bergeron, 69).
In this framework of forces, the personating actors and the audience commune in a joint experiential, visceral moment that is exemplified by violent death through "killing, hewing, stabbing, dagger-drawing, fighting, butchery."
(44) 'There is a minuteness of observation that qualifies him abundantly for the personating the lower orders of men'.
It provides that falsely personating an officer of the Department of Financial Services is a third-degree felony.
The term's appearance in this 1605 letter also precedes the livret or printed brochure for the Ballet de Monseigneur le duc de Vandosme (Paris, 1610) which references entrechats performed as part of an exuberant, antic set of figured dances by eight skilled dwarfs personating servants to the sorceress Alcine: 'Ils etoient tous petits et choisis pour les plus dispos hommes de la Cour, et faisoient (presque toujours a saults, capriolles, et entrichats) les figures biens marquees'.
(41) Susan Baker, "Personating Persons: Rethinking Shakespearean Disguises" Shakespeare Quarterly 43 (1992): 307.
The actors were certainly working from a text, which Sir Henry Herbert had presumably passed for performance; he was to be questioned about it, as was 'the [unnamed] poet who made the play.' The fragments quoted in the enquiry documents include some dialogue: whereas one of the speakers is identified as 'one personating a justice of the peace' his interlocutor is simply called 'Cain,' as if actor and character were one.
Personating himself as the great Latin poet Horace, Jonson administers to these two hacks what he regards as a well-deserved comeuppance (5.3.213-565).