per·​son·​al | \ ˈpərs-nəl How to pronounce personal (audio) , ˈpər-sə-nəl \

Definition of personal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or affecting a particular person : private, individual personal ambition personal financial gain
2a : done in person without the intervention of another also : proceeding from a single person
b : carried on between individuals directly a personal interview
3 : relating to the person or body
4 : relating to an individual or an individual's character, conduct, motives, or private affairs often in an offensive manner a personal insult
5a : being rational and self-conscious personal, responsive government is still possible— John Fischer
b : having the qualities of a person rather than a thing or abstraction a personal devil
6 : of, relating to, or constituting personal property a personal estate
7 : denoting grammatical person
8 : intended for private use or use by one person a personal stereo



Definition of personal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a short newspaper paragraph relating to the activities of a person or a group or to personal matters
2 : a short personal communication in a special column of the classified ads section of a newspaper or periodical

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Examples of personal in a Sentence

Adjective This is just my personal opinion. I can only tell you what I know from personal experience. He added his own personal touches to the recipe. We don't accept personal checks. He is a personal friend of mine. She is always concerned about her personal appearance. We provide each of our customers with personal service. Golf is a personal interest of mine. May I ask you a personal question? That information is very personal, and you have no business asking about it.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective So does this come from personal experience from one of you, or all of you? Dalton Ross,, 10 June 2021 The mail app will also cloak user IP addresses and other personal information. Dan Patterson, CBS News, 10 June 2021 At the heart of the book is Nella’s belief — confirmed by personal experience as well as data — that the decks are stacked against Black women. Washington Post, 9 June 2021 Under Illinois law, organizations that handle people’s personal information, including medical information, are required to protect it, said Sara Shanti, a partner in the health care group at law firm Benesch in Chicago. Lisa Schencker,, 9 June 2021 But this approach still relies on a select few people, who inevitably make assumptions and insert their own personal experience and preferences into the design. Kotter, Forbes, 8 June 2021 Lawmakers often draw from personal experience to shape legislation, and the issue of coercive control is central to Kasser’s legislative advocacy and her divorce. Mark Pazniokas,, 7 June 2021 Doctors combine this knowledge with their own personal experience in making clinical decisions. Amitha Kalaichandran, Wired, 3 June 2021 The scientist’s latest book, Coming to Our Senses, moves beyond her personal experience to tell the stories of two people who similarly gained senses after childhood. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In other words, the personal — staying out of jail — had become paramount for Mr. Netanyahu. New York Times, 8 June 2021 There are three primary types of countertop blenders: conventional, high-performance and personal. Katy Severson,, 11 Apr. 2021 However, Capricorn midheavens can also sometimes end up isolating friends, family, and lovers by prioritizing professional tasks over the personal. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, 4 Apr. 2021 Wojnarowicz made the political personal in 1987, when the photographer Peter Hujar, his mentor and closest companion, died of AIDS., 24 Mar. 2021 Firefighters and emergency personal continued to fight the inferno into the early hours of the morning, videos showed. David Aaro, Fox News, 23 Mar. 2021 And the author of War and Peace would hardly need telling that, for this kind of aristocratic family, the personal is supremely political—in world-historical ways. Matt Seaton, The New York Review of Books, 9 Mar. 2021 Jennings teased out the personal from what could otherwise have been a sweeping metanarrative of Britain in wartime. Thomas Page, CNN, 23 Feb. 2021 Despite the large Twitter following on the official accounts, Trump preferred to tweet from his personal @realDonaldTrump account until Twitter permanently suspended his account for violating its policies on glorifying violence. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, 15 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'personal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of personal


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1860, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for personal


Middle English, from Anglo-French personel, from Late Latin personalis, from Latin persona

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Time Traveler for personal

Time Traveler

The first known use of personal was in the 14th century

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Statistics for personal

Last Updated

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Personal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for personal



English Language Learners Definition of personal

: belonging or relating to a particular person
: made or designed to be used by one person
used to describe someone whose job involves working for or helping a particular person


per·​son·​al | \ ˈpər-sə-nəl How to pronounce personal (audio) \

Kids Definition of personal

1 : of, relating to, or belonging to an individual human being : not public : not general personal property
2 : made or done by a particular individual and not by someone acting for him or her The mayor made a personal appearance.
3 : of the body Take precautions for personal safety.
4 : relating to someone's private matters May I ask you a personal question?
5 : intended for or given to one particular individual I received personal service.
6 : relating to a particular individual or his or her qualities often in a way that is hurtful I took the remark as a personal insult.

Other Words from personal

personally adverb



Legal Definition of personal

1 : of, relating to, or affecting a person: as
a : of, relating to, or based on the existence or presence of a person — see also personal injury, personal jurisdiction at jurisdiction
b : of, relating to, or restricted to a natural person and his or her rights, obligations, affairs, assets, or lifetime refused to disclose personal information released on personal recognizance
2 : of, relating to, or constituting personal property personal effects — see also personal property at property — compare real

Other Words from personal

personally adverb


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