1. Of or relating to a particular person; private: “Like their personal lives, women's history is fragmented, interrupted” (Elizabeth Janeway).
a. Done, made, or performed in person: a personal appearance.
b. Done to or for or directed toward a particular person: a personal favor.
3. Concerning a particular person and that person's private business, interests, or activities; intimate: I have something personal to tell you.
a. Aimed pointedly at the most intimate aspects of a person, especially in a critical or hostile manner: an uncalled-for, highly personal remark.
b. Tending to make remarks, or be unduly questioning, about another's affairs: As the student debate got heated, it got personal.
5. Of or relating to the body or physical being: personal cleanliness.
6. Relating to or having the nature of a person or self-conscious being: belief in a personal God.
7. Law Of or relating to the person: personal property as opposed to real property; personal jurisdiction as opposed to in rem jurisdiction.
8. Grammar Indicating grammatical person.
1. A personal item or notice in a newspaper.
2. personals A column in a newspaper or magazine featuring personal notices.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.