noun \ˌpər-sə-ˈna-lə-tē, ˌpər-ˈsna-\

: the set of emotional qualities, ways of behaving, etc., that makes a person different from other people

: attractive qualities (such as energy, friendliness, and humor) that make a person interesting or pleasant to be with

: attractive qualities that make something unusual or interesting

plural per·son·al·i·ties

Full Definition of PERSONALITY

a :  the quality or state of being a person
b :  personal existence
a :  the condition or fact of relating to a particular person; specifically :  the condition of referring directly to or being aimed disparagingly or hostilely at an individual
b :  an offensively personal remark <angrily resorted to personalities>
a :  the complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual or a nation or group; especially :  the totality of an individual's behavioral and emotional characteristics
b :  a set of distinctive traits and characteristics <the energetic personality of the city>
a :  distinction or excellence of personal and social traits; also :  a person having such quality
b :  a person of importance, prominence, renown, or notoriety <a TV personality>


  1. He has a very pleasant personality.
  2. We all have different personalities.
  3. The psychiatrist considered behavior as well as personality before prescribing a treatment.
  4. He has lots of personality.
  5. He wants to buy a car that has personality.
  6. She has met many television personalities.
  7. He was an influential personality in genetic engineering.


Middle English personalite, from Anglo-French personalité, from Late Latin personalitat-, personalitas, from personalis
First Known Use: 15th century

Other Psychology Terms

fetish, hypochondria, intelligence, mania, narcissism, neurosis, pathological, psychosis, schadenfreude, subliminal


noun \ˌpərs-ən-ˈal-ət-ē, ˌpər-ˈsnal-\   (Medical Dictionary)
plural per·son·al·i·ties

Medical Definition of PERSONALITY

: the complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual especially in relationships with others
a : the totality of an individual's behavioral and emotional tendencies b : the organization of the individual's distinguishing character traits, attitudes, or habits


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Totality of an individual's behavioral and emotional characteristics. Personality embraces a person's moods, attitudes, opinions, motivations, and style of thinking, perceiving, speaking, and acting. It is part of what makes each individual distinct. Theories of personality have existed in most cultures and throughout most of recorded history. The ancient Greeks used their ideas about physiology to account for differences and similarities in temperament. In the 18th century Immanuel Kant, Charles-Louis Montesquieu, and Giambattista Vico proposed ways of understanding individual and group differences; in the early 20th century Ernst Kretschmer and the psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Carl Jung offered competing personality theories. Freud's model rested on the power of psychosexual drives as mediated by the structural components of the id, ego, and superego and the interplay of conscious and unconscious motives. Particularly important was the array of defense mechanisms an individual employed. Jung, like Freud, emphasized unconscious motives but de-emphasized sexuality and advanced a typal theory that classified people as introverts and extraverts; he further claimed that an individual personality was a persona (i.e., social facade) drawn from the “collective unconscious,” a pool of inherited memories. Later theories by Erik H. Erikson, Gordon W. Allport, and Carl R. Rogers were also influential. Contemporary personality studies tend to be empirical (based on the administration of projective tests or personality inventories) and less theoretically sweeping and tend to emphasize personal identity and development. Personality traits are usually seen as the product of both genetic predisposition and experience. See also personality disorder; psychological testing.


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