per·son·al·i·ty | \ˌpər-sə-ˈna-lə-tē, ˌpər-ˈsna-\
plural personalities

Definition of personality 

1a : the quality or state of being a person

b : personal existence

2a : the condition or fact of relating to a particular person specifically : the condition of referring directly to or being aimed disparagingly or hostilely at an individual

b : an offensively personal remark angrily resorted to personalities

3a : the complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual or a nation or group especially : the totality of an individual's behavioral and emotional characteristics

b : a set of distinctive traits and characteristics the energetic personality of the city

4a : distinction or excellence of personal and social traits also : a person having such quality

b : a person of importance, prominence, renown, or notoriety a TV personality

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Choose the Right Synonym for personality

disposition, temperament, temper, character, personality mean the dominant quality or qualities distinguishing a person or group. disposition implies customary moods and attitude toward the life around one. a cheerful disposition temperament implies a pattern of innate characteristics associated with one's specific physical and nervous organization. an artistic temperament temper implies the qualities acquired through experience that determine how a person or group meets difficulties or handles situations. a resilient temper character applies to the aggregate of moral qualities by which a person is judged apart from intelligence, competence, or special talents. strength of character personality applies to an aggregate of qualities that distinguish one as a person. a somber personality

Examples of personality in a Sentence

He has a very pleasant personality. We all have different personalities. The psychiatrist considered behavior as well as personality before prescribing a treatment. He has lots of personality. He wants to buy a car that has personality. She has met many television personalities. He was an influential personality in genetic engineering.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Some candidates and political analysts say that Mr. López Obrador’s encouragement of women and force of personality emboldened strong female candidates to run and drew out record numbers of female voters. Robbie Whelan, WSJ, "Women Test Mexico’s ‘Macho’ Political Culture With Big Electoral Gains," 12 July 2018 Your clothes and personal style is just an outward expression of your personality. Jamie Lisanti,, "Fashionable 50," 10 July 2018 The audience gets to see a lot of your personality as well. Courtney Devores, charlotteobserver, "Miss D and her Dancing Dolls take ‘Bring It’ from TV screens to the live stage," 9 July 2018 Some see him as a caudillo in the making: a strongman who will rule through the politics of personality and demolish institutions instead of reforming them. Jonah Shepp, Daily Intelligencer, "AMLO Isn’t Mexico’s Trump – Nor Is He Trump’s Natural Enemy," 5 July 2018 Hence, the almost weekly public apologies of personalities both famous and faint for crude, rude, thoughtless or worse electronic missives., "A long tradition: Americans behaving badly," 5 July 2018 The lad peering out at viewers from the old family photograph at the Jewish Museum of Maryland had eyes set deep beneath his brows that glowed with a rare force of personality. Mary Carole Mccauley,, "Behind the magic of Harry Houdini at the Jewish Museum of Maryland," 29 June 2018 But unlike with Cunningham’s and Talley’s stories, I wasn’t left feeling sorry for Westwood because she was allowed to live up to the fullest expression of her personality. Elizabeth Wellington,, "This Vivienne Westwood documentary details how the designer built a killer brand on her own potty-mouthed terms," 28 June 2018 While some CEOs maintain a Jobsian cult of personality and where celebrity fan attacks mostly consist of endless walls of snake emoji, Musk’s followers differ in their moral righteousness and emotional defensiveness. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "The gospel of Elon Musk, according to his flock," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'personality.' 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 personality

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for personality

Middle English personalite, from Anglo-French personalité, from Late Latin personalitat-, personalitas, from personalis

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Last Updated

22 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for personality

The first known use of personality was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for personality



English Language Learners Definition of personality

: the set of emotional qualities, ways of behaving, etc., that makes a person different from other people

: attractive qualities (such as energy, friendliness, and humor) that make a person interesting or pleasant to be with

: attractive qualities that make something unusual or interesting


per·son·al·i·ty | \ˌpər-sə-ˈna-lə-tē \
plural personalities

Kids Definition of personality

1 : the qualities (as moods or habits) that make one human being different from others She has a cheerful personality.

2 : a human being's pleasing or interesting qualities He doesn't have much personality.

3 : a famous person


per·son·al·i·ty | \ˌpərs-ᵊn-ˈal-ət-ē, ˌpər-ˈsnal- \
plural personalities

Medical Definition of personality 

1 : the complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual especially in relationships with others

2a : the totality of an individual's behavioral and emotional tendencies

b : the organization of the individual's distinguishing character traits, attitudes, or habits

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plural personalities

Legal Definition of personality 

1 : the quality, state, or fact of being a person the corporation has legal personality

2 : the totality of an individual's behavioral and emotional characteristics a personality disorder

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Comments on personality

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a state of commotion or excitement

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