Origin of persona
Words nearby persona
What does persona mean?
A persona is the image or personality that a person presents in public or in a specific setting—as opposed to their true self.
The word is especially used in the phrase public persona, referring to the personality that a person presents in public and that they are known for by most people. The term is usually used in reference to public figures, such as politicians and celebrities, to contrast with “what they’re really like.”
For example, someone’s public persona might be outgoing and social, while their true personality is shy and reserved. Of course, it’s also possible that someone’s public persona matches their true personality.
In psychology, the word persona refers to the identity that a person takes on to adapt to the outside world or to a certain situation—their “mask” or facade.
In literature, persona refers to a character in a story, especially the narrator.
Much less commonly, persona can simply refer to a person. The Latin term persona appears in the phrase persona non grata, referring to a person who is not welcome.
The correct plural of persona can be personas or personae. (The plural ending -ae is used in other formal plurals of Latin-derived words, such as antennae—the plural of antenna.)
Example: In public, Ahmad’s persona is that of a confident leader, but in private he’s timid and kind of insecure.
Where does persona come from?
The first records of the word persona in English come from the 1700s. The first records of its use to refer to a person’s public image come from the early 1900s. It’s derived from the Latin persōna, meaning “mask.”
In psychology, the concept of the persona was developed by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung to refer to the “mask” that’s used to hide the true nature of a person (called the anima). This mask gets put on when different situations call for the personality that suits them.
Personas aren’t only associated with celebrities. Regular people use different personas all the time. For example, a person’s persona when they’re in a job interview will be different from the one when they’re in the workplace, which is different from the one they display when they’re out with their friends.
In literature, the word persona often refers to the narrator of the book, which is often associated with the author of the work. In this sense, it’s the voice that the author uses to tell the story.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to persona?
- personas (plural)
- personae (plural)
What are some synonyms for persona?
What are some words that share a root or word element with persona?
What are some words that often get used in discussing persona?
How is persona used in real life?
The word persona is commonly used to discuss the way public figures portray themselves to the world.
#KaranJohar’s fierce exercise of the right to privacy is at such odds with his public persona of letting it all hang out that it enrages people, writes @kavereeb, https://t.co/TRZ6qzJoIh pic.twitter.com/BY9gdgq7uJ
— Open Magazine (@Openthemag) July 9, 2020
It's moreso a persona than an actual person. You know they got something to hide if they act like a perfect, wholesome figure in public. It comes off as robotic.
— 💫AstralWingz💫 (@Zhane_Star) July 11, 2020
Try using persona!
Which of the following terms is an antonym (opposite) of persona?
A. true self
B. inner personality
D. all of the above
How to use persona in a sentence
The NBA of the 1990s was dominated by Michael Jordan and his adamantly apolitical persona.Americans Are Far More Likely To Support Athlete Protests Than They Once Were|Michael Tesler|September 3, 2020|FiveThirtyEight
For some, it’s worth the risk, and for others the opportunity aligns with the online persona they’ve created for themselves.Rock the Vote enlists Instagram influencers to get young people to the polls|Danielle Abril|August 30, 2020|Fortune
If you were to tell me that your persona as an influencer is fake, then I’d believe you—but that doesn’t mean that it’s inherently fake, not at all.Social Media Feels Increasingly Toxic. What Do I Do?|Blair Braverman|August 29, 2020|Outside Online
Start with defining the user persona for the map you’re drawing.
That’s why defining user personas is so important for successful customer journey mapping.
Christie may have his faults, but he oozes the everyman persona.
“You ask me my motivation,” Marvin says, moving back into his tough guy persona again.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile|Robert Ward|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
But Cocker proved to be a survivor, bringing his passionate persona to concert halls around the world decade after decade.The Greatest Rock Voice of All Time Belonged to Joe Cocker|Ted Gioia|December 23, 2014|DAILY BEAST
You have a pretty sexy online persona, what with the constant bikinis.Anastasia Ashley, Surfer-Cum-Model, Rides The Viral Internet Wave|James Joiner|December 23, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Indeed, in as much as clothes define us, Hurley had the strange distinction of having her persona defined by a dress.Happy 20th Birthday, Liz Hurley’s Safety-Pin Dress|Tim Teeman|December 12, 2014|DAILY BEAST
To make my position more intolerable, I am persona non grata with both sides.The Courier of the Ozarks|Byron A. Dunn
Our witness, in any case, would not be a persona grata to the Society for Psychical Research.Devil-Worship in France|Arthur Edward Waite
Burleigh was evidently persona non grata in the eyes of both.Warrior Gap|Charles King
I may have been persona non grata, but, if so, she did not express her feeling.Birds of the Rockies|Leander Sylvester Keyser
Seeing that I would henceforth be persona non grata at the palace, I sought obscurity in the writing and publication of books.The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce|Ambrose Bierce