personal effects

plural noun

Definition of personal effects

: privately owned items (such as clothing and jewelry) normally worn or carried on the person

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of personal effects in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

One of my colleagues joked that the new desks remind her of an examination room at the gynecologist’s office, lots of white with nowhere to hang any personal effects. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Sorry Marie Kondo—I Love Mess!," 12 Feb. 2019 For instance, Ruth uses chess pieces scattered about the house to anchor her in reality, a detail inspired by Shaw and his sister going through their mother's belongings and recognizing the talisman-like nature of a loved one's personal effects. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "TV Technica 2018: Our favorite shows and binges," 24 Dec. 2018 Several searchers walked carefully in the midday heat Sunday atop a pile of wallboard, framing timber and personal effects, including a big chair and carpeted climbing structure for pet cats. Scott Calvert, WSJ, "Search-and-Rescue Crews Comb Florida Panhandle," 14 Oct. 2018 It’s made of upcycled sailcloth, and its form is informed by a NASA bag that Neil Armstrong used to bring his personal effects back from the Moon, known as the McDivitt Purse. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "What’s in your bag, Adam Savage?," 7 Sep. 2018 The auction will be handled by Ahlers and Ogletree, the same firm that oversaw the sale of many of Diane McIver’s personal effects, jewelry and clothing soon after her death in September 2016. Christian Boone, ajc, "Tex McIver’s Putnam County ranch on auction block," 11 July 2018 Many are identified by personal effects found with their bodies. Rob O'dell, azcentral, "What dead pigs can teach us about missing bodies in the Arizona desert," 5 July 2018 The phone was stolen from a patient who died earlier in June and was not turned over with the patient's other personal effects, court documents show. Kelsey Mo, azcentral, "2 suspected of abusing disabled adults in El Mirage unlicensed care facility," 2 July 2018 If the furniture is in good shape and in demand, consider removing personal effects and collectibles and selling the house furnished. Robyn A. Friedman, WSJ, "Baby Boomers Are Downsizing and There’s A Problem: What To Do With All Their Stuff," 20 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of personal effects

1818, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about personal effects

Statistics for personal effects

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for personal effects

The first known use of personal effects was in 1818

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on personal effects

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for personal effects

Comments on personal effects

What made you want to look up personal effects? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!