I'm looking for a word that is similar to personify, but that would imply it has life-like qualities, rather than human-like.

For example, I am discussing the fact that a self-driving car, if involved in a crash that takes a human life, may be hunted or ostracized in the same way sharks or bears are hunted after they kill a human. We are getting closer to treating AI as life, and I am looking for a word to describe that. We are not strictly personifying the AI, but we are doing something similar.

Might not be a word for this, but I am curious if there is.

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    UD suggests the noun 'animalification': << Animalification ...This is like personification, which is used to give items human charecteristics in literature etc, animalification however is the use of giving the same items animal Characteristics. the rope SLITHERED down the wall it a use of animalification >> So it may soon offer 'animalify'. I wouldn't use either. Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 22:32
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    By and large, "personifying" is when we imagine a concept to be human (for example, "death crept in to the house"), and "anthropomorphizing" is when we attribute human traits or attitudes to an object (for example, "my car loves to go fast").
    – MetaEd
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 22:42
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    Would embody work?
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 0:13
  • @Sammaron - I have some vague ideas, but I need a sample sentence or two, please. Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 20:10
  • Yeah, I thought of "embody".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 12:07

4 Answers 4


Consider, embody

To give a concrete form to; personify or exemplify: works that embodied the spirit of the age.

Random House Kennerman's Webster Collegiate Dictionary

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    The sense of personify in this definition (represent, exemplify) is very different from the sense that the OP has in mind (anthropomorphise).
    – jsw29
    Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 23:58

zoomorphize (verb):

to make zoomorphic: to attribute an animal form or nature to

Source: OED

Wikipedia describes zoomorphism (attributing animal form or characteristics to anything other than an animal), as similar to, but broader than anthropomorphism (the attribution of human form or other characteristics to beings other than humans).


"Bestialize" is most straightforward.

There are also the more contrived "animate" and "nature": transitive verbs meaning approximately what you want.

You might choose to circumvent the challenge by saying "invest"/"imbue"/"endow"/"characterize" or "reidentify"/"reconceive"/"recast" [with lifelike or animal attributes].

There are interesting terms for similar ideas (like "reify" "animize" "animalize" "apotheosize" "mythologize" "transfigure") swimming all over critical theory. There is also "naturalize" in linguistics. I am sure there is a swarm of names for just such metaphor in rhetoric, but I can't get into that now; though I will note that even "rhetoricize" aims at what you mean.


Inanimafication noun (adjective inanimaficate; past and past participle Inanimaficated. Verb Inanimafy; past participle inanimafied; inanimaficating present participle of Inanimaficate).

  1. This is the opposite of personification. It was first coined by Nwoko Solomon Ikechukwu from the word inanimate, meaning without life, lifeless, an object or a thing. It is a figure of speech whereby the quality or attribute of nonliving things is given to living things like human beings. It is also a situation where the quality or attribute of animals are given to human beings.

Examples: i. A situation whereby a baby is crying annoyingly and somebody said to the mother, Take that thing out of here. The word “thing” is used to describe non-human beings, but addressing the baby who is a human being as a thing is inanimafication making human being to appear as a thing or object.

ii. A situation where someone is talking angrily and with a loud voice, and another person tells him/her Stop barking like a dog. It is only animals like dogs that can bark not human beings. Addressing the aloud and angry talk of a human being as barking is inanimafication.

iii. Calling one “a piece of chalk or piece of shit”, “little rat”, “toy”, “broom stick”, etc., are all inanimafication, giving the attribute of object to human beings.

  1. To Inanimaficate or Inanimafy is to reduce, downgrade or to let down someone’s value, quality or person. To disrespect someone and treat him/her less than human; treating one like an object or animal.

Examples i. I was inanimafied today by my boss in his office.

ii. It is bad and unethical to inanimaficate someone below your class or status.

iii. Humility is seen also, in not inanimaficating others.

Nwoko Solomon Ikechukwu (Pastor)

Read more at www.nallwritingbooks.WordPress.com

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    Hi Nwoko, welcome to our site. While there's no specific rule against neologisms on this site, we are generally looking for real words found in the general English language corpus. And since anyone can make up a word, it's unlikely this answer is of much use to anyone, especially as it looks like a misspelling of the word animalification. For further guidance, see How to Answer. :-) Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 6:23

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