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Coined between 1350 and 1400 as Middle English personalite, from Middle French [Term?], from Latin persōnālitās.[1]

Morphologically personal +‎ -ity



personality (countable and uncountable, plural personalities)

  1. (of people) A set of non-physical psychological and social qualities that make one person distinct from another.
    • c. 1828, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Notes on Field on the Church
      Personality is individuality existing in itself, but with a nature as a ground.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 19, in The China Governess[1]:
      Meanwhile Nanny Broome was recovering from her initial panic and seemed anxious to make up for any kudos she might have lost, by exerting her personality to the utmost. She took the policeman's helmet and placed it on a chair, and unfolded his tunic to shake it and fold it up again for him.
    The president has a unique personality.
  2. (of people) Charisma, or qualities that make a person stand out from the crowd.
    • 1959, Lloyd Price, Personality:
      But over and over / I´ll be a fool for you / 'cause you got personality.
    The best contestant shows most personality.
  3. (of inanimate or abstract things) A set of qualities that make something distinctive or interesting.
    His writing has a lot of personality.
    This functional concrete building lacks personality.
    • 2017, Janet Fletcher, Cheese & Beer, page 35:
      Dubbels typically have a rich, complex, malt-centered personality and a copper or caramel color.
  4. An assumed role or manner of behavior.
    In his final act, the comedian takes on a child's personality.
  5. A celebrity, especially one with a strong media presence.
    Johnny Carson was a respected television personality.
  6. (archaic) Something said or written which refers to the person, conduct, etc., of some individual, especially something of a disparaging or offensive nature; personal remarks.
    indulgence in personalities
  7. (law) That quality of a law which concerns the condition, state, and capacity of persons[2]


Derived terms[edit]


  • Japanese: パーソナリティ (pāsonariti)


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  1. ^ personality”, in Unabridged,, LLC, 1995–present.
  2. ^ 1859, Alexander Mansfield, Law Dictionary

Further reading[edit]

  • "personality" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 232.