Meaning of PERSONAL in English


per ‧ son ‧ al S1 W1 /ˈpɜːs ə nəl $ ˈpɜːr-/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ person , ↑ personality , ↑ persona , ↑ personage , the personals, ↑ personification , ↑ personnel ; adjective : ↑ personal ≠ ↑ impersonal , ↑ personalized , ↑ personable ; verb : ↑ personalize , ↑ personify ; adverb : ↑ personally ≠ ↑ impersonally ]

1 . [only before noun] belonging or relating to one particular person, rather than to other people or to people in general:

My personal view is that we shouldn’t offer him the job.

Style and colour are a matter of personal taste.

She took full personal responsibility for all the arrangements.

When I went to her room all her personal belongings had gone.

After Alan’s death, his mother received his personal effects.

I know from personal experience that you can’t trust Ralph.

the personal qualities needed to be successful in business

The car is for personal use only.

On a personal level he felt sympathy for them, but he had a job to do.

celebrities with their own personal trainer

2 . relating to the private areas of your life:

I don’t answer questions about my personal life.

May I ask you a personal question?

the records will include other personal details such as nationality, date of birth and address

He’s got a few personal problems at the moment.

The envelope was marked ‘Personal and Confidential’.

We’re not allowed to make personal phone calls at work.

3 . involving rude or upsetting criticism of someone:

It’s unprofessional to make such personal remarks.

a bitter personal attack on the president

There’s no need to get personal!

(it’s) nothing personal (=used to tell someone that you are not criticizing them)

It’s nothing personal, I just have to go home now.

4 . if you give something your personal care or attention, you deal with it yourself instead of asking someone else to do it:

Small companies can devote more personal attention to each project.

As you get promoted in a firm you lose that personal contact (=meeting and dealing with people yourself) .

5 . personal friend someone who you know well, especially a famous or important person

personal friend of

Apparently the director is a personal friend of hers.

6 . [only before noun] relating to your body or the way you look:

Grant was always fussy about his personal appearance.

the importance of personal hygiene

7 . personal touch something you do to make something special, or that makes someone feel special:

It’s those extra personal touches that make our service better.

8 . personal best the fastest time, most points etc that a ↑ sportsman or ↑ sportswoman has ever achieved:

I ran 20.51 seconds for a personal best.

9 . personal development improvements in your character and skills

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ nouns

▪ sb’s personal view/opinion

My personal opinion is that the project was started too soon.

▪ sb’s personal possessions/belongings/property

All personal belongings should be clearly marked with the owner’s name.

▪ sb’s personal effects (formal) (=small possessions, clothing etc)

After his suicide, his mother received his personal effects.

▪ personal taste/preference

What you plant in your garden is ultimately a matter of personal preference.

▪ personal qualities

They stress the importance of a teacher’s personal qualities.

▪ personal experience

I have had personal experience of unemployment.

▪ a personal relationship

It’s important to establish a good personal relationship with the voters.

▪ a personal interest in something

He took a personal interest in the case.

■ phrases

▪ for (your) personal use

He bought a computer for his personal use.

▪ on a personal level (=used when giving your own opinion rather than the opinion of the organization you represent)

On a personal level, it’s been a very positive experience.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ nouns

▪ sb’s personal life

I’ve got to maintain a balance between my personal life and my work.

▪ personal details

Fill in your personal details.

▪ personal problems

Counselors can give assistance to students with personal problems.

▪ a personal question

That’s a rather personal question.

▪ a personal call

Are you sure your boss doesn’t mind your using the telephone for personal calls?

■ phrases

▪ for personal reasons

The company’s chief executive has resigned for personal reasons.

• • •


▪ private if something is private, you do not want most people to know about it because it concerns your feelings, your relationships etc:

He didn’t want to discuss his private life.


What happens in the bedroom is strictly private.

▪ personal relating to your private life – used especially about problems, feelings, and questions:

They asked a lot of personal questions.


She talked about her own personal feelings.


I’d rather not talk about it – it’s personal.


The singer has had a lot of problems in her personal life.

▪ secret [only before noun] used about feelings and thoughts that you do not tell anyone about:

Barclay had a secret desire to become an actor.


His secret fear was that Jenny would leave him.

▪ intimate very private – used about things relating to your relationships and sexual feelings:

an intimate conversation


Many people share intimate details of their lives on the Internet.


their intimate moments together

▪ innermost [only before noun] your innermost feelings, thoughts etc are your most private ones:

Counselling often encourages you to reveal your innermost thoughts.

▪ be none of sb’s business if something is none of your business, it is private and you should not ask about it:

It’s none of your business how much I earn.


‘Are you married?’ ‘That’s none of your business.’

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.