Personal vs Private - What's the difference?

personal | private | Synonyms |

Personal is a synonym of private.

As adjectives the difference between personal and private

is that personal is pertaining to human beings as distinct from things while private is belonging to, concerning, or accessible only to an individual person or a specific group.

As nouns the difference between personal and private

is that personal is an advertisement by which individuals attempt to meet others with similar interests while private is the lowest rank of the army.



(Webster 1913)

Alternative forms

* personall (obsolete)


(en adjective)
  • Pertaining to human beings as distinct from things.
  • Of or pertaining to a particular person; relating to, or affecting, an individual, or each of many individuals; peculiar or proper to private concerns; not public or general
  • Pertaining to the external or bodily appearance; corporeal.
  • * {{quote-book, year=1922, author=(Ben Travers)
  • , chapter=5, title= A Cuckoo in the Nest , passage=The most rapid and most seductive transition in all human nature is that which attends the palliation of a ravenous appetite.
  • Done in person; without the intervention of another.
  • * White
  • This immediate and personal speaking of God Almighty to Abraham, Job and Moses,
  • Relating to an individual, his character, conduct, motives, or private affairs, in an invidious and offensive manner; as, personal reflections or remarks.
  • (label) Denoting a person.
  • Usage notes

    Not to be confused with .


    * (l)

    Derived terms

    * personal capital * personal fiduciary * personal lubricant * personal trainer


    (en noun)
  • An advertisement by which individuals attempt to meet others with similar interests.
  • A movable; a chattel.
  • Statistics



    * ----




    (en adjective)
  • Belonging to, concerning, or accessible only to an individual person or a specific group.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-06-14, author=(Jonathan Freedland)
  • , volume=189, issue=1, page=18, magazine=(The Guardian Weekly) , title= Obama's once hip brand is now tainted , passage=Now we are liberal with our innermost secrets, spraying them into the public ether with a generosity our forebears could not have imagined. Where we once sent love letters in a sealed envelope, or stuck photographs of our children in a family album, now such private material is despatched to servers and clouds operated by people we don't know and will never meet.}}
  • Not in governmental office or employment.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-07-19, author=(Peter Wilby)
  • , volume=189, issue=6, page=30, magazine=(The Guardian Weekly) , title= Finland spreads word on schools , passage=Imagine a country where children do nothing but play until they start compulsory schooling at age seven. Then, without exception, they attend comprehensives until the age of 16.
  • Not publicly known; not open; secret.
  • * {{quote-book, year=1963, author=(Margery Allingham), title=(The China Governess)
  • , chapter=20 citation , passage=The story struck the depressingly familiar note with which true stories ring in the tried ears of experienced policemen.
  • Protected from view or disturbance by others; secluded.
  • Intended only for the use of an individual, group, or organization.
  • Not accessible by the public.
  • Not traded by the public.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-06-22, volume=407, issue=8841, page=70, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Engineers of a different kind , passage=Private -equity nabobs bristle at being dubbed mere financiers. Piling debt onto companies’ balance-sheets is only a small part of what leveraged buy-outs are about, they insist. Improving the workings of the businesses they take over is just as core to their calling, if not more so. Much of their pleading is public-relations bluster.}}
  • Secretive; reserved.
  • (US, of a room in a medical facility) Not shared with another patient.
  • Synonyms

    * (done in the view of others ): secluded * (intended only for one's own use ): personal * (not accessible by the public ):


    * public


    (en noun)
  • The lowest rank of the army.
  • A soldier of the rank of private.
  • (in plural privates) A euphemistic term for the genitals.
  • (obsolete) A secret message; a personal unofficial communication.
  • (Shakespeare)
  • (obsolete) Personal interest; particular business.
  • * Ben Jonson
  • Nor must I be unmindful of my private .
  • (obsolete) Privacy; retirement.
  • * Shakespeare
  • Go off; I discard you; let me enjoy my private .
  • (obsolete) One not invested with a public office.
  • * Shakespeare
  • What have kings, that privates have not too?
  • A private lesson.
  • If you want to learn ballet, consider taking privates .


    * (genitals) bits, private parts

    Derived terms

    * in private * privacy * private language * private parts * private property * private stock * public-private partnership


    * 1000 English basic words ----