from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A living human. Often used in combination.
  • noun An individual of specified character.
  • noun The composite of characteristics that make up an individual personality; the self.
  • noun The living body of a human.
  • noun Physique and general appearance.
  • noun Law A human, corporation, organization, partnership, association, or other entity deemed or construed to be governed by a particular law.
  • noun Christianity Any of the three separate individualities of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as distinguished from the essence of the Godhead that unites them.
  • noun Any of three groups of pronoun forms with corresponding verb inflections that distinguish the speaker (first person), the individual addressed (second person), and the individual or thing spoken of (third person).
  • noun Any of the different forms or inflections expressing these distinctions.
  • noun A character or role, as in a play; a guise.
  • idiom (in person) In one's physical presence; personally.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To represent as a person; personify.
  • noun 1. A mask anciently worn by actors, covering the whole head, and varying according to the character to be represented; hence, a mask or disguise.
  • noun The character represented by such a mask or by the player who wore it; hence, character; rôle; the part which one assumes or sustains on the stage or in life.
  • noun A human being; a man, woman, or child; an individual; in a broader sense, a self-conscious being. See def. 9, and personality, 1.
  • noun . An individual of importance, distinction, or dignity; a personage.
  • noun In an affected sense, an individual of no importance or not entitled to social recognition: commonly applied to female servants or employees: as, a capable young person as milliner's assistant; a respectable person as cook.
  • noun The rector of a parish; a parson.
  • noun The human form in its characteristic completeness; the body of the living man or woman with all that belongs to it; bodily form; external appearance: as, offenses against the person; the king's person was held sacred; the adornment of the person.
  • noun In biology and morphology, an individual in a narrow sense, as the shoot or bud of a plant, a polypite or medusa, a zoöid, etc. , ,
  • noun In law: A living human being.
  • noun A human being having rights and duties before the law; one not a slave. In old Roman law slaves were not considered to be persons.
  • noun A being, whether natural or artificial, whether an individual or a body corporate other than the state, having rights and duties before the law.
  • noun [cap. or lowercase] In theology, a term used in definitions of the Trinity for what is individual in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, distinguishing one from the other: opposed to essence, which denotes what is common to them.
  • noun In grammar, one of three relations in which a subject stands related to a verb, and which are in many languages distinguished by differences in the form of the verb itself: namely, the first person, that of the speaker; the second, that of the one spoken to; and the third, that of the person or thing spoken of.
  • noun In the flesh; actually; with bodily presence, and not by deputy or representative: as, he came in person; he paid the money in person.
  • noun See color.
  • noun The Holy Ghost.
  • noun An expression common in legal phraseology to indicate any one not a party to a contract, relation, or legal proceeding under consideration: as, the liability of members of a corporation to third persons. =Syn. 2-4. Person, Individual, Personage. Person is the most general and common word for a human being, of either sex and of any age or social grade, without emphasizing the fact that there is but one, or, if there are more than one, viewing them severally: as, I met a person who said, etc. Individual views a person as standing alone, or persons as standing seperately before the mind: as, the rights of the individual; the rights of the individual; it is incorrect to use individual for person unemphatically: as, there were several individuals in the room. A personage is an important, distinguished, or illustrious person: hence, the state has been called “a great moral personage.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To represent as a person; to personify; to impersonate.
  • noun Archaic A character or part, as in a play; a specific kind or manifestation of individual character, whether in real life, or in literary or dramatic representation; an assumed character.
  • noun The bodily form of a human being; body; outward appearance.
  • noun A living, self-conscious being, as distinct from an animal or a thing; a moral agent; a human being; a man, woman, or child.
  • noun A human being spoken of indefinitely; one; a man.
  • noun obsolete A parson; the parish priest.
  • noun (Theol.) Among Trinitarians, one of the three subdivisions of the Godhead (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost); an hypostasis.
  • noun (Gram.) One of three relations or conditions (that of speaking, that of being spoken to, and that of being spoken of) pertaining to a noun or a pronoun, and thence also to the verb of which it may be the subject.
  • noun (Biol.) A shoot or bud of a plant; a polyp or zooid of the compound Hydrozoa Anthozoa, etc.; also, an individual, in the narrowest sense, among the higher animals.
  • noun (Law) a corporation or body politic; -- this term is used in contrast with natural person, a real human being. See also legal person.
  • noun (Law) an individual or group that is allowed by law to take legal action, as plaintiff or defendent. It may include natural persons as well as fictitious persons (such as corporations).
  • noun (Law) a man, woman, or child, in distinction from a corporation.
  • noun by one's self; with bodily presence; not by representative.
  • noun in the place of; acting for.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb obsolete, transitive To represent as a person; to personify; to impersonate.
  • verb transitive, humorous To man.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a human being
  • noun a grammatical category used in the classification of pronouns, possessive determiners, and verb forms according to whether they indicate the speaker, the addressee, or a third party
  • noun a human body (usually including the clothing)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French persone, from Latin persōna, mask, role, person, probably from Etruscan phersu, mask.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman parsone, persoun et al. (Old French persone ("human being"), French personne), and its source Latin persōna ("mask used by actor; role, part, character"),perhaps a loanword; compare Etruscan φersu ("mask"). Displaced native wight (from Old English wiht ("person, human being")).


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  • PErsON

    May 13, 2008

  • Compare parson.

    June 28, 2022