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 And the one certain way to spread this virus is being up close and personal. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, "My son’s college football season was shut down. Maybe his school has the right idea.," 12 July 2020 Protester Mike Tucker, 54, said his appearance at the event was personal: His son was killed by an NYPD bullet in 2005. oregonlive, "NYC mayor joins in painting Black Lives Matter mural outside Trump Tower," 9 July 2020 This has led to the creation of a thriving tourist industry that can get you up close and personal with the gigantic, carnivorous beasts. Jason Bittel, National Geographic, "Dreaming of dragons? Here’s where they really live.," 8 July 2020 At the dog run at Hunter’s Point South Park in Queens, animals shed their leashes and got up close and personal with one another, even as their owners stood six feet apart with their faces covered. Michael Gold, New York Times, "N.Y.C. Reopening: Dog Runs and Manicures, but Still No Indoor Dining," 6 July 2020 The portraits and text are designed to be the primary points of focus with all supporting elements developed to create a setting that is personal, feels quiet and integrated into the environment for a sense of belonging. Anchorage Daily News, "An opportunity to listen as our ‘Unheard’ project becomes a museum installation," 1 July 2020 Everything is a little more personal in a town like Stroudsburg, where the population is 5,500. CBS News, "Small towns may have "a longer road ahead" in America's economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic," 29 June 2020 The country is in the midst of a sweeping and historic national reckoning over police brutality, and for San Francisco Mayor London Breed, the political has perhaps never been more personal. Dominic Fracassa,, "London Breed: Black mayor. Raised in poverty, surrounded by violence. How will she handle police reform?," 29 June 2020 Much like the origins of Parents Promise to Kids, the motivation behind Promise to Humanity is personal. Ryan Bergeron, CNN, "Parkland brothers turn their activism toward fighting the spread of Covid-19," 27 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Admission is free for children 5 years old and under and for Military personal with identification. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Do you miss travel? Here are 5 single-day outdoor excursions within an hour of Louisville," 3 July 2020 George took that as a sign that her approach — blending the personal with the political — would work in her newest role. Washington Post, "Janeese Lewis George, the democratic socialist who beat one of the D.C. mayor’s allies, says she’ll be a pragmatic council member," 19 June 2020 Journalists typically don’t blend the personal with the professional. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Journalist Lina Washington lost her father to COVID-19. Now she wants Arizona to 'wake up'," 19 June 2020 Chinese disdain combines the political with the personal. The Economist, "Chaguan Elites in Beijing see America in decline, hastened by Trump," 11 June 2020 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

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

30 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Personal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 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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