Although I could substitute 'identify' in place of 'ID', would it be considered improper to use 'ID' as a verb? Here's what I mean:

That boy looks underage, I think we should ?ID him.

  • 1
    I may be wrong, but I think I've read a similar sentence in some thriller with cops at work.
    – Paola
    May 18, 2012 at 1:48
  • 4
    I might call it informal, but I don't think I'd go so far as to call it improper.
    – J.R.
    May 18, 2012 at 1:51
  • 1
    Can you use the abbreviation 'ID' as a verb? Yes, I can.
    – GEdgar
    Jul 19, 2013 at 13:50

2 Answers 2


It's in Merriam-Webster as a synonym of identify, and certainly most people would know what you meant if you said it. It comes across as a little informal and reminiscent of police jargon. If you're talking about IDing someone specifically to verify his age (as in your example), you may also hear the colloquialism to card.

  • 2
    Yes you can. It's done quite frequently. Watch the evening news and you're likely to hear "Police have IDed (sp?) the killer..." or "Police are asking for your help to ID the suspect in this video."
    – TecBrat
    May 18, 2012 at 2:17
  • I agree, it is common, especially in spoken English. But what is the spelling you want? Maybe ID'd ... Then there would be She IDs people at the door But probably not ID's ... Of course if it is a verb we also need IDing and IDer and so on.
    – GEdgar
    Jul 19, 2013 at 13:52

FRINGE Season 1 Episode 19 by the protagonist: "We canvas the area to ID her."

  • Please clarify what you are referring to by "FRINGE Season 1 Episode 19". This site is read world-wide and we do not all immediately recognise films, TV shows, etc. from another country.
    – TrevorD
    Jul 19, 2013 at 15:27

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