9

I want a word that means the opposite of personification.

What is the correct word for describing people with the characteristics of an object/as if they are objects?

I found the word chremamorphism on some forums, but it doesn't seem to be included in the two online dictionaries I searched.

2
  • 3
    Tip: a word's opposite is its antonym. When I want an opposite, I find it useful to search Google for that word and "antonym".
    – Hugo
    Oct 22, 2011 at 9:50
  • What about making a human like an animal through metaphors? Mar 21, 2017 at 14:54

4 Answers 4

17

Objectification seems apt to me.

1
6

Depending on the context, perhaps "dehumanization" might be an apt term.

2

I always liked reification. It's primary meaning is making abstract things concrete, but it can also be used as a synonym to dehumanization. The nice thing about reification-personification opposition is that the words are symmetrical (rei + ficare, personae + ficare).

0

I've got to object: in one sense the antonym is abstraction personification has three distinct meanings; this illustrates that there can be more than one antonym:

  1. The attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form
  2. A figure intended to represent an abstract quality ('the design on the franc shows Marianne, the personification of the French republic')
  3. A person, animal, or object regarded as representing or embodying a quality, concept, or thing (he was the very personification of British pluck and diplomacy)

As an example of personification (meaning 2): "The White House intends to veto any legislation on X... Press Secretary Carney discussed this with journalists."

I would say the opposite of personification (meaning 2) is abstraction. Houses are not capable of vetoing things, but to say that is neither dehumanizing, nor chremamorphism nor objectification.

Whereas Chremamorphism is the 'opposite' as in the reverse direction of 3., i.e. giving characteristics of an object to a person.

2
  • It would not be abstraction. That would be making a human into an abstract concept. It would be objectification, in that you are making a human have characteristics of an inanimate object in a similar way an inanimate object is said to have human traits with personification.
    – user93248
    Oct 2, 2014 at 16:02
  • @user93428: No, as I said the opposite of "making an abstract concept into a human" would be "not making an abstract concept into a human" or "making a concept into a more abstract concept". "Opposite" is not uniquely-defined here.
    – smci
    Apr 3, 2017 at 23:47

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.