Definition of personal in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpərs(ə)n(ə)l/


1Of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else: her personal fortune was recently estimated at $37 million
More example sentences
  • 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.
direct, empirical, firsthand, immediate, experiential
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
More example sentences
  • 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, personalized
in 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
private, intimate;
confidential, secret
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
More example sentences
  • 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
3Relating to a person’s body: personal hygiene
More example sentences
  • 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).
Example sentences
  • 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
1An advertisement or message in the personal column of a newspaper; personal ad.
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).

Words that rhyme with personal

impersonal, interpersonal, transpersonal

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: per·son·al

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