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 Full personal protective equipment will also be employed where necessary, such as at Ellesmere Port where final assembly of interiors requires a person on each side of the car with its doors open. The Economist, "Manufacturing How covid-19 is changing carmaking," 30 May 2020 Covanta will collect material from these sites, such as the packaging or personal protective equipment used by the pharmacist or technician. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "As testing ramps up, Indianapolis incinerator proves safe place to dispose of pandemic waste," 28 May 2020 Of that amount, about $1.3 million was spent on personal protective equipment and almost $4.9 million on personnel expenses from police and fire department special units, according to Cabello. Julia Wallace, Houston Chronicle, "Webb County receives only $37K in coronavirus relief funds from state government," 28 May 2020 The funds can be used for expenses including emergency operations, purchases of personal protective equipment, cleaning and sanitation supplies and services, temporary isolation housing for people who are infected or at risk, and more. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tony Evers directs $200 million in CARES Act dollars to Wisconsin local governments," 27 May 2020 Dakota Johnson, playing Grace's overworked personal assistant, Maggie, who has musical aspirations of her own, also features in the clip., "Tracee Ellis Ross Channels a Superstar Singer with Fun Dance Moves in The High Note Scene," 26 May 2020 The state recommends restaurants have personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and hand sanitizer while operating. Justin Phillips,, "Restaurants reopening after shutdown face challenges over masks, money," 26 May 2020 Good thing Grace has Maggie (Johnson), an overworked personal assistant. Elizabeth Montgomery, azcentral, "Why Tracee Ellis Ross and Dakota Johnson's 'High Note' falls flat," 25 May 2020 States, counties, private contractors and the federal government have been able to lay their hands on more nasal swabs, specimen media, testing reagents and personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gowns. Washington Post, "D.C. region will have enough testing and tracing capacity by July to contain coronavirus, officials say," 25 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The state’s emergency management office has distributed more than 10 million pieces of personal-protection equipment, Murphy said. Elise Young,, "New Jersey Governor Makes Personal Appeal to Trump for Direct Aid," 5 May 2020 Somewhere in San Francisco’s Western Addition, a woman scrolls through online personals. Ryan Kost,, "Love in the time of coronavirus: How San Franciscans cope," 3 Apr. 2020 Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment. Mark Heim |, al, "IRS warns of stimulus check schemes, COVID-19 pandemic scams," 16 Apr. 2020 Friends urged me to consider the back pages of The New York Press, known for its lively personals section catering to singles who saw themselves as hip or a little nonstandard. Bonnie Altucher, New York Times, "How My Worst Date Ever Became My Best," 14 Feb. 2020 The tech executive said to be suspicious of any unsolicited emails with a coronavirus theme or requests for personal, banking or login information. Catherine Herridge, CBS News, "Cybercriminals are capitalizing on coronavirus fears, security firm warns," 11 Mar. 2020 The teenager was found unresponsive about 11:30 p.m. when emergency personal responded to the academy at 20061 E. Rittenhouse Road in Queen Creek, the sheriff's office said. Chelsea Curtis, azcentral, "17-year-old Canyon State Academy student dies after being found unresponsive," 23 Jan. 2020 However, the rumors have raged on, and even reportedly gotten personal between the writer and the actress via DMs. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Jameela Jamil’s Boyfriend Comes To Her Defense Over “Disgusting Lies”," 14 Feb. 2020 There was a lot more talk about personal and professional development, work-life balance and transparency in the workplace., "From cubicles to standing desks: The Tribune has been spotlighting Top Workplaces for a decade. Here’s how winners are selected.," 8 Nov. 2019

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

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Personal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for personal


How to pronounce personal (audio)

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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