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[pur-suh-nal-i-tee] /ˌpɜr səˈnæl ɪ ti/
noun, plural personalities.
the visible aspect of one's character as it impresses others:
He has a pleasing personality.
a person as an embodiment of a collection of qualities:
He is a curious personality.
  1. the sum total of the physical, mental, emotional, and social characteristics of an individual.
  2. the organized pattern of behavioral characteristics of the individual.
the quality of being a person; existence as a self-conscious human being; personal identity.
the essential character of a person.
something apprehended as reflective of or analogous to a distinctive human personality, as the atmosphere of a place or thing:
This house has a warm personality.
a famous, notable, or prominent person; celebrity.
application or reference to a particular person or particular persons, often in disparagement or hostility.
a disparaging or offensive statement referring to a particular person:
The political debate deteriorated into personalities.
Origin of personality
1350-1400; Middle English personalite (< Middle French) < Late Latin persōnālitās. See personal, -ity
Synonym Study
1. See character. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for personality
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A new Dick appeared to him, a personality stronger, deeper than he could have imagined.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • The book and the personality of Job have caused much controversy.

  • By this means he gave to man an extended, a Titan personality.

    De Profundis Oscar Wilde
  • Also he disliked Carter—seemed to associate his personality with that of Shandy's.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • She felt as if she were drawing the lilies so into herself that her own personality waned.

British Dictionary definitions for personality


noun (pl) -ties
(psychol) the sum total of all the behavioural and mental characteristics by means of which an individual is recognized as being unique
the distinctive character of a person that makes him socially attractive: a salesman needs a lot of personality
a well-known person in a certain field, such as sport or entertainment
a remarkable person: the old fellow is a real personality
the quality of being a unique person
the distinctive atmosphere of a place or situation
(often pl) a personal remark
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 personality

late 14c., "quality or fact of being a person," from Medieval Latin personalitatem (nominative personalitas), from Late Latin personalis (see personal). Sense of "a distinctive character" is first recorded 1795, from French personnalité.

Personality is the supreme realization of the innate idiosyncrasy of a living being. It is an act of courage flung in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of existence, coupled with the greatest possible freedom of self-determination. [C.G. Jung, 1875-1961]
Meaning "person whose character stands out from that of others" is from 1889. Personality cult is attested from 1956.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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personality in Medicine

personality per·son·al·i·ty (pûr'sə-nāl'ĭ-tē)

  1. The quality or condition of being a person.

  2. The totality of qualities and traits, as of character or behavior, that are peculiar to a specific person.

  3. The pattern of collective character, behavioral, temperamental, emotional, and mental traits of a person.

  4. Distinctive qualities of a person, especially those personal characteristics that make one socially appealing.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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personality in Culture

personality definition

The pattern of feelings, thoughts, and activities that distinguishes one person from another.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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