When something's personal, it's all about you. A personal decision is one you make on your own and it’s probably about something that concerns you, too. Your personal possessions are things that belong to you.

No doubt you've noticed the word person, in personal. The word comes from the Latin personalis, "of a person." Personal can be your personal habits — how often your brush your teeth, whether you like broccoli — or your personal space, or a personal attack — mean-spirited criticism aimed at somebody in particular. The "Personals" section in your local newspaper is where people place ads hoping to find true love or with other personal messages.

Definitions of personal
  1. adjective
    concerning or affecting a particular person or his or her private life and personality
    “a personal favor”
    “for your personal use”
    personal papers”
    “I have something personal to tell you”
    “a personal God”
    “he has his personal bank account and she has hers”
    ad hominem
    appealing to personal considerations (rather than to fact or reason)
    in each other's presence
    individual, private
    concerning one person exclusively
    individualised, individualized, personalised, personalized
    made for or directed or adjusted to a particular individual
    in the flesh, in-person
    an appearance carried out personally in someone else's physical presence
    ain, own
    belonging to or on behalf of a specified person (especially yourself); preceded by a possessive
    pointedly referring to or concerning a person's individual personality or intimate affairs especially offensively
    involving direct communication or contact between persons or parties
    concerning things deeply private and personal
    confined to particular persons or groups or providing privacy
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    not relating to or responsive to individual persons
    lacking personality
    show more antonyms...
  2. adjective
    particular to a given individual
    taking place within the mind and modified by individual bias
  3. adjective
    of or arising from personality
    personal magnetism”
  4. adjective
    intimately concerning a person's body or physical being
    personal hygiene”
    involving the body as distinguished from the mind or spirit
  5. noun
    a short newspaper article about a particular person or group
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    type of:
    news article, news story, newspaper article
    an article reporting news
  6. adjective
    indicating grammatical person
    personal verb endings”
Commonly confused words

personal / personnel

Personal and personnel can be confused if the writer is not diligent, especially as both can be used as a noun and an adjective.

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Word Family

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