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[pur-suh-nl] /ˈpɜr sə nl/
of, relating to, or coming as from a particular person; individual; private:
a personal opinion.
relating to, directed to, or intended for a particular person: a personal favor; one's personal life; a letter marked “Personal.”.
intended for use by one person:
a personal car.
referring or directed to a particular person in a disparaging or offensive sense or manner, usually involving character, behavior, appearance, etc.:
personal remarks.
making personal remarks or attacks:
to become personal in a dispute.
done, carried out, held, etc., in person:
a personal interview.
pertaining to or characteristic of a person or self-conscious being:
That is my personal belief.
of the nature of an individual rational being.
pertaining to the body, clothing, or appearance:
personal cleanliness.
provided for one's discretionary use:
Employees are allowed 15 vacation days and two personal days.
  1. noting person:
    In Latin portō “I carry,”is a personal ending.
  2. of, relating to, or characteristic of the personal pronoun, as English I, we, you, he, she, it, and they .
Law. of or relating to personal property:
personal interests.
  1. a short news paragraph in a newspaper concerning a particular person, as one who is socially prominent, or a group of particular persons who are socially prominent.
  2. a brief, private notice in a newspaper or magazine, often addressed to a particular person, and typically bearing an abbreviated salutation and signature to preserve its confidentiality, usually printed in a special part of the classified advertising section.
  3. Also called personal ad. a similar notice, as in a newspaper or on a website, placed by a person seeking companionship, a spouse, etc.
  4. Usually, personals. a column, page, or section, as of a newspaper, magazine, or website, featuring such notices or items.
Origin of personal
First recorded in 1350-1400; Middle English word from Late Latin word persōnālis. See person, -al1
Related forms
personalness, noun
hyperpersonal, adjective
hyperpersonally, adverb
multipersonal, adjective
nonpersonal, adjective
nonpersonally, adverb
quasi-personal, adjective
quasi-personally, adverb
superpersonal, adjective
superpersonally, adverb
unpersonal, adjective
unpersonally, adverb
Can be confused
personal, personnel (see usage note at personnel) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for personal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Plumer notes "the rancor of his personal and political animosities."

  • A pile of personal objects lay on the table when he had finished.

    Millennium Everett B. Cole
  • But he changed his mind one day when Jack put to him a personal question.

    Samba Herbert Strang
  • "This may become a matter for the Baron's personal attention," continued the steward.

    Millennium Everett B. Cole
  • Whoever will slander in politics, will slander in personal squabbles.

    Twelve Causes of Dishonesty Henry Ward Beecher
British Dictionary definitions for personal


of or relating to the private aspects of a person's life: personal letters, a personal question
(prenominal) of or relating to a person's body, its care, or its appearance: personal hygiene, great personal beauty
belonging to or intended for a particular person and no-one else: as a personal favour, for your personal use
(prenominal) undertaken by an individual himself: a personal appearance by a celebrity
referring to, concerning, or involving a person's individual personality, intimate affairs, etc, esp in an offensive way: personal remarks, don't be so personal
having the attributes of an individual conscious being: a personal God
of or arising from the personality: personal magnetism
of, relating to, or denoting grammatical person
(law) of or relating to movable property, such as money Compare real1 (sense 8)
(law) an item of movable property
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for personal

late 14c., "pertaining to the self," from Old French personal (12c., Modern French personnel), from Late Latin personalis "pertaining to a person," from Latin persona (see person). Meaning "aimed at some particular person" (usually in a hostile manner) first attested 1610s. The noun sense of "newspaper item about private matters" is attested from 1888. As "a classified ad addressed to an individual," it is recorded from 1861. Personal computer is from 1976.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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