per·son·al | \ˈpərs-nəl, 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


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

More personal user data — including users’ dates of birth and genders — was compromised, according to a report from TechCrunch. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Timehop’s data breach included more personal user information than originally announced," 11 July 2018 California will soon have what experts call the nation's most far-reaching law to give consumers more control over their personal data under a bill the governor signed Thursday. Sophia Bollag, The Christian Science Monitor, "California approves wide-ranging data privacy bill," 29 June 2018 According to an arrest affidavit, a man in Michigan, told Orlando police someone had gained access to his computer and transferred money from his business account to his personal account. Maria Elena Vizcaino,, "Fraudster in Orlando tricked Michigan man into wiring $19K — twice, cops say," 11 July 2018 But what emerged was a story far more personal and smaller in scope: a love letter not only to the Bongo Room, but to a time in life when your friends are everything and your future is just beginning to take shape. Sarah Nardi, Chicago Reader, "The Bongo Room turns 25: A look back at Wicker Park's beloved brunch spot," 5 July 2018 But this isn’t the first time; Pruitt has been faulted for utilizing his managerial position to enlist subordinates to perform personal, non-official duties for him. Carson Kessler, Fortune, "Scott Pruitt Reportedly Asked Aides to Find His Wife a Job With a Six-Figure Salary," 3 July 2018 Whatever law enforcement and UFC officials have told Michael Chiesa about publicly discussing the bus attack involving Conor McGregor, his reasons for seeking another topic seem personal, not evidential. Lance Pugmire,, "UFC 226's Michael Chiesa won't let Conor McGregor throw him under the bus," 3 July 2018 To work at relationships, professional and personal. Alexandra Kleeman, Vanities, "This Novel Provides an Empowering, Grotesque Alternative to Leaning In," 2 July 2018 Facebook posts and profile information are often personal, and the ability to control who sees that is an important element of feeling safe on the service. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Facebook’s year of privacy mishaps continues — this time with a new software bug that ‘unblocked’ people," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Silbert told The Sacramento Bee in an interview that Newsom attended Delancey Street Foundation roughly once a week for three years for personal and group therapy. Angela Hart, sacbee, "Gavin Newsom didn't really go to rehab | The Sacramento Bee," 23 Apr. 2018 Some dating sites and Craigslist’s personals page have already fallen victim to the new laws. Susan Elizabeth Shepard, Vox, "It’s International Whores’ Day. Let’s talk about why strippers need better labor laws.," 1 June 2018 Police found that the boy had posted an ad on under Hartford/personals/casual encounters. Jesse Leavenworth,, "Manchester Man Faces Federal Child Porn Charges," 26 Apr. 2018 The online site, which features free classified ads for everything from jobs to housing to dump trucks, shut down its personals sections Friday for U.S. sites. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "Craigslist ditches personals ads following passage of sex-trafficking law | The Sacramento Bee," 25 Mar. 2018 On the 40-yard dash, try for personal bests in both attempts because the times are averaged, but decelerate gradually to avoid pulling a muscle. Liz Clarke,, "'Super agents' rep 75 percent of NFL players. It's a competitive fight to sign the rest.," 20 Apr. 2018 One of them feels personal: Gomes cast his girlfriend and best friend to portray a couple getting engaged on a beach. Muri Assunção, Billboard, "Meet Nuno Gomes, the Director Behind Videos From Latin Superstars Ozuna and Natti Natasha," 21 May 2018 In one sting, a deputy posted an ad in the personals section on David Harris,, "Operation reduces crime, drug overdoses, sheriff's office says," 18 May 2018 The Pacers had a foul to give, but Thaddeus Young, wearing five personals, was not the wisest choice as James' defender. Bill Livingston,, "Cleveland Cavaliers 2018: James' 44-point, last-shot masterpiece wins Game 5: Bill Livingston (photos)," 26 Apr. 2018

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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Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for personal

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

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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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on personal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for personal

Spanish Central: Translation of personal

Nglish: Translation of personal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of personal for Arabic Speakers

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