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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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then he would tumble home to bed, and when he had thoroughly perspired, then to study." (68) Read against the other personations of this play and Dekker's later involvement in the so-called "poets' war," the Lacy-Ralph connections to Jonson's 1598 play, the Swan Theater, military sendee, pseudo-Dutch swaggering, and violence are strongly suggestive of a Jonsonian presence.
Appropriation and Personation: Shakespeare, the Rose, and Jonson
(2.) See Cain, ed., Poetaster, 3-19, Matthew Steggle, Wars of the Theatres: The Poetics of Personation in the Age of Jonson; English Literary Studies 75 (Victoria, BC: 1998), 35-39; James P.
The printed text of A Game at Chess was presented as a re-creation of the play in performance and was used to perpetuate the stage production's controversial personations. This ensured the continued association of the printed play with the political context in which it was performed and invited topical interpretation.
However, Dutton also points out that James I was sensitive to the issue of personation. (10) Contemporary testimony indicates that the satirical representations which had been veiled in allegory on the page were made explicit in performance.
In revisiting the poetic dialogue which Jonson's Every Man Out, Cynthia's Revels, and Poetaster engage in with his principal opponents, Marston and Dekker, Steggle distances his position from the biographical criticism which was spawned by nineteenth-century interest in personation. Instead, his argument is that the sentiments represented by personated characters are associated with issues pertinent to their contemporary professional theater.
Chapters 3 and 4 illustrate respectively the continuing uses of personation after the first war by Dekker, Middleton, and the author of Swetnam the Woman-hater, and by Jonson in his later plays.
But this is only to make more visible the machinery of mathematical personation operating throughout Gravity's Rainbow.
These three usages are significant because of the conjunction of personation and parody.
Even if in early modern English usage there is a distinction between playing and acting in today's sense, as for instance in Thomas Hobbes's definition in Leviathan in 1651 of acting as personation, that distinction, involving a later, more formalized performance with scripted and naturally plausible role depiction for acting as distinct from the earlier, diversely free-form entertainment of playing, (51) is fuzzy and at best merely emergent in the early 1590s.