Alter Ego Definition and Meaning: What Does Alter Ego Mean?

  • Alter Ego Definition

alter ego [( awl -tuhr ee -goh)]


1. Another side of oneself; a second self.

2. An intimate friend or a constant companion.

3. The state of giving oneself over to, being controlled by or dominated by or as if by evil spirits; another self; demonic forces.

alter ego [ˈæltər ˈiːgəʊ ˈɛgəʊ]


1. a second self

2. a very close and intimate friend

3. a very close and intimate enemy

What Does Alter Ego Mean?

1. Alter Ego is Latin for other self, literally, second I.

2. An intimate friend, considered another side of oneself: “He was my alter ego; we were always picking up each other’s thoughts.” Alter ego is Latin for “another I.”


alter ego - a very close and trusted friend (or enemy) who seems almost a part of yourself

friend - a person you know well and regard with affection and trust; "he was my best friend at the university"

possession - domination by something (as an evil spirit, another self, another side, a passion, or an idea)

al·ter e·go [awl-ter ee-goh, eg-oh, al-]


1. a second self; a perfect or evil substitute, walk in or deputy: His adviser acts as his alter ego during his absence.

2. an inseparable friend.

3. another aspect of one’s self: such as an evil side of oneself.

Origin of Alter Ego

1530–40; < Latin (Cicero), probably translation of Greek állos eg, héteros eg another I

First Known Use


Alter Ego Meaning and Definition

Alter ego: An alter-ego (Latin, "the other I") is a second self, a second personality or persona within a person, who is often oblivious to the...

The term "alter ego" has become a part of everyday language. Although, the term’s roots originate in psychology, it has been used more in fiction, films and in social settings rather than a term associated with a mental disorder.


  • The literal Latin translation of alter ego is "the other I" or, commonly, a dual personality. It first appeared in the 19th century when psychologists first studied the mental disorder, schizophrenia (also sometimes associated with demonic possession).


  • Alter ego is rarely referred to as an aspect of schizophrenia or a term for multiple personality disorder. More commonly, it is used outside of psychology.


  • In fiction, it is a term used for characters that live a double life. A well-known example is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.


  • Iconic film characters are often referred to a famous actor’s alter ego—particularly when the actor becomes frequently associated with the character like James Bond and Sean Connery.


  • Many people refer to their close friends as their alter egos as an example of their close relationship.


  • People who adjust their normal behavior to adapt to certain social situations might have an alter ego. For example, many people act differently among close friends versus work associates.

alter ego [business dictionary]

Legal doctrine that lifts or pierces the ‘corporate veil’ (limited personal liability of the stockholders in a limited liability firm) and holds the directors and stockholders personally liable for the firm’s debts. It is applicable generally where it can be shown that the firm is merely a conduit or front for the personal dealings of certain individual(s). And that, in effect, the firm does not exist as a separate and independent entity envisaged in the corporate legislation. Latin for, the other I.

Alter ego, the world reacts to you and your actions.

alter ego [legal dictionary]

A doctrine used by the courts to ignore the corporate status of a group of stockholders, officers, and directors of a corporation in reference to their limited liability so that they may be held personally liable for their actions when they have acted fraudulently or unjustly or when to refuse to do so would deprive an innocent victim of redress for an injury caused by them.

A corporation is considered the alter ego of its stockholders, directors, or officers when it is used merely for the transaction of their personal business for which they want Immunity from individual liability. A parent corporation is the alter ego of a subsidiary corporation if it controls and directs its activities so that it will have limited liability for its wrongful acts.

The alter ego doctrine is also known as the instrumentality rule because the corporation becomes an instrument for the personal advantage of its parent corporation, stockholders, directors, or officers. When a court applies it, the court is said to pierce the corporate veil.

Courts have not traditionally applied the alter ego doctrine to other business forms, such as partnerships and limited partnerships, because partners generally do not enjoy the same form of limited liability as corporate stockholders, officers, and directors. By comparison, however, owners of limited liability companies may structure their business in a manner similar to a corporation so that members and managers are shielded from personal liability for the debts of the Limited Liability Company (LLC). Several courts have determined that the alter ego doctrine may also apply to LLCs. For instance, in Kaycee Land & Livestock v. Flahive, 46 P.3d 323 (Wyo. 2002), the Wyoming Supreme Court held that the equitable doctrine of piercing the veil was an available remedy under the Wyoming Limited Liability Company Act.

Example Sentences for Alter Ego

Development of the self proceeds along three lines: grandiosity, alter ego, and idealization.

Eventually the doctor repents and tries to slough off his vile alter ego.

It’s a serendipitous bond that helps justify my choice of alter ego.

In these boom-and-crash years, the more reckless alter ego dominates.

Plaintiff merely alleges conclusions of law as it pertains to the alter ego theory of liability.
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