Definition of personal in English:


Syllabification: per·son·al
Pronunciation: /ˈpərsənəl


  • 1Of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else: her personal fortune was recently estimated at $37 million
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    • But I decided not to be embarrassed by my illness and to record my experiences on a personal website, for anyone to read.
    • He is working the streets as hard as anyone, buoyed by a huge personal fortune.
    • For 200 years prior to this, the garden relied on personal book collections belonging to the various keepers of the garden.
  • 1.1Done or made by a particular person; involving the actual presence or action of a particular individual: the president and his wife made personal appearances for the re-election of the state governor
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    • Each individual will receive a personal letter of apology, acknowledging the harm caused by the process.
    • It's not my personal presence here that will bring the disease under control, but bearing down on the disease to eliminate it.
    • Both our days are outrageously improved by actual personal contact.
    distinctive, characteristic, unique, individual, one's own, particular, peculiar, idiosyncratic, individualized, personalizedin person, in the flesh, actual, live, physical
  • 2Of or concerning one’s private life, relationships, and emotions rather than matters connected with one’s public or professional career: the book describes his acting career and gives little information about his personal life
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    • He is much less certain and dogmatic talking about emotions and personal relationships.
    • The relationship between a political figure's personal life and his public career is a tricky one.
    • Their argument is that nothing is too personal or private for public discourse.
  • 2.1Referring to an individual’s character, appearance, or private life, especially in a hostile or critical way: his personal remarks about Mr. Mellor’s work ethic were unprofessional you look like a drowned rat—nothing personal
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    • It's very rude to relay personal remarks, but I've made a career out of it - so why stop now?
    • I suggest that it is time you made a ruling on that, and said that those sorts of personal insinuations are inappropriate.
    • He decided to get very personal and to refer to my own marriage.
    derogatory, ad hominem; disparaging, belittling, insulting, critical, rude, slighting, disrespectful, offensive, pejorative
  • 3Of or relating to a person’s body: personal hygiene
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    • On some Tory blog's comment section this is a cue for speculating about personal hygiene of and body hair on greenies.
    • As a youngster he has overcome racism and through his life there have been enough personal body blows to ensure that he appreciates the good in his world.
    • I put it down to the fact that as he's Italian the encroaching of personal body space was just something that came with the territory.
  • 4 Grammar Of or denoting one of the three persons. See person ( sense 2).
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    • Yes, that's why I used the personal pronoun - stating a personal opinion.
    • If a personal noun was necessary to make sense of running conversation, I added the name.
  • 5Existing as a self-aware entity, not as an abstraction or an impersonal force: he rejected the notion of a personal God
    More example sentences
    • We must, then, somehow think of God as both personal and impersonal, and in one sense, it would seem, this presents no difficulty.
    • I was also able to make contact with spiritual entities personal to me, even explore some past life stuff a bit.
    • Goethe's Faust reminds us forever that the devil is personal, not impersonal.


chiefly North American Back to top  
  • 1An advertisement or message in the personal column of a newspaper; personal ad.
    More example sentences
    • They found each other through a personals advertisement Ehud placed in an Indian newspaper.
    • You know the drill: we look for the creepiest, sleaziest ads in the Leader newspaper personals and you kiddies get to vote for the worst one.
    • Jacob, a 30-something guy advertised in a personals magazine and thought he had found his partner.
  • 1.1 (personals) another term for personal column.


late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin personalis 'of a person', from persona (see person).

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