See also: Person and -person

English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English persoun, personne et al., 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 from Etruscan 𐌘𐌄𐌓𐌔𐌖 (φersu, mask). In this sense, displaced native man, which came to mean primarily "adult male" in Middle English; see Old English mann. Doublet of parson and persona.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

person (plural persons or (by suppletion) people)

  1. An individual who has been granted personhood; usually a human being. [from 13th c.]
    • 1784, William Jones, The Description and Use of a New Portable Orrery, &c., PREFACE
      THE favourable reception the Orrery has met with from Perſons of the firſt diſtinction, and from Gentlemen and Ladies in general, has induced me to add to it ſeveral new improvements in order to give it a degree of Perfection; and diſtinguiſh it from others; which by Piracy, or Imitation, may be introduced to the Public.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XII, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC, page 85:
      “A very welcome, kind, useful present, that means to the parish. By the way, Hopkins, let this go no further. We don't want the tale running round that a rich person has arrived. Churchill, my dear fellow, we have such greedy sharks, and wolves in lamb's clothing. []
    Each person is unique, both mentally and physically.
    1. 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.
    2. (Christianity) Any one of the three hypostases of the Holy Trinity: the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit.
    3. Any sentient or socially intelligent being.
    4. (in a compound noun or noun phrase) Someone who likes or has an affinity for (a specified thing). [from 20th c.]
      Jack's always been a dog person, but I prefer cats.
    5. (in a compound noun or noun phrase) A human of unspecified gender (in terms usually constructed with man or woman).
    6. (in a compound noun or noun phrase) A worker in a specified function or specialty.
      I was able to speak to a technical support person and get the problem solved.
  2. The physical body of a being seen as distinct from the mind, character, etc. [from 14th c.]
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, →OCLC, partition 3, section 1, member 2, subsection 3, page 347:
      [] when the young Ladies laughed at her for it, ſhe replied that it was not his perſon that ſhe did embrace and reverence, but the divine beauty of his Soule.
    • 1897 October 16, Henry James, chapter XVI, in What Maisie Knew, Chicago, Ill., New York, N.Y.: Herbert S. Stone & Co., →OCLC, page 188:
      The Captain, inclining his military person, sat sideways to be closer and kinder [].
    • 1978, Lawrence Durrell, Livia, Faber & Faber 1992 (Avignon Quintet), page 418:
      At first blush it seemed that what was striking about him rested on the fact that his dress was exotic, his person foreign.
    • 2004, The New York Times:
      Meanwhile, the dazed Sullivan, dressed like a bum with no identification on his person, is arrested and put to work on a brutal Southern chain gang.
  3. (law) Any individual or formal organization with standing before the courts. [from 14th c.]
    At common law a corporation or a trust is legally a person.
  4. (law, euphemistic) The human genitalia; specifically, the penis.
    • 1824, Vagrancy Act 1824 (5 Geo. 4. c. 83, United Kingdom), section 4:
      [E]very Person wilfully, openly, lewdly, and obscenely exposing his Person in any Street, Road, or public Highway, or in the View thereof, or in any Place of public Resort, with Intent to insult any Female ... and being subsequently convicted of the Offence for which he or she shall have been so apprehended, shall be deemed a Rogue and Vagabond, within the true Intent and Meaning of this Act ...
  5. (grammar) A linguistic category used to distinguish between the speaker of an utterance and those to whom or about whom they are speaking. See grammatical person. [from 14th c.]
  6. (biology) 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[19th century].
    • 1884, Patrick Geddes, “Morphology”, in Encyclopædia Britannica, volume 16:
      True corms, composed of united personae [] usually arise by gemmation, [] yet in sponges and corals occasionally by fusion of several originally distinct persons.

Usage notes edit

  • In senses 1.1, 1.3, and 1.4, the plural is most commonly people. In senses 1.2, 2, 3, and 5, persons is the only plural.
  • Traditionally a distinction has often been made in formal language whereby people is used of human beings in general and of larger, more anonymous groups, while persons describes a finite, known number of individuals. To the degree that speakers still use the plural persons, it is indeed often restricted to this latter context. However, Garner considers the distinction pedantic and most style guides (including e.g. the Associated Press and New York Times) now recommend people. Persons is still generally used in technical and legal contexts.
  • Referring to an individual as a “person” (rather than a gentleman, lady, etc.) was formerly perceived as a slight.
    • 1836, King William IV, quoted in Clare Jerrold, The Early Court of Queen Victoria (New York: Putnam, 1912), at p. 97:
      I trust in God that my life may be spared for nine months longer, after which period, in the event of my death, no Regency would take place. I should then have the satisfaction of leaving the Royal authority to the personal exercise of that young lady [the future Queen Victoria], the heiress presumptive to the Crown, and not in the hands of a person now near me [Victoria's mother], who is surrounded by evil advisers and who is herself incompetent to act with propriety in the station in which she would be placed. I have no hesitation in saying that I have been insulted, grossly insulted by that person, but I am determined to endure no longer a course of behaviour so disrespectful to me.

Synonyms edit

Hyponyms edit

Derived terms edit

Descendants edit

  • Nigerian Pidgin: pesin

Translations edit

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

Verb edit

person (third-person singular simple present persons, present participle personing, simple past and past participle personed)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To represent as a person; to personify; to impersonate.
  2. (transitive, gender-neutral) To man, to supply with staff or crew.
    • 2007, Brian R. Brenner, Don't Throw This Away!: The Civil Engineering Life, page 40:
      We had hit the iceberg, and it was time to person the lifeboats.
    • 2008, William Guy, Something Sensational, page 337:
      We went so far as to stop in a hotel on the way out of Speyer — to ask for directions — but the teenaged girl personing the desk there seemed to be such an idiot []

References edit

  1. ^ Bingham, Caleb (1808), “Improprieties in Pronunciation, common among the people of New-England”, in The Child's Companion; Being a Conciſe Spelling-book [] [1], 12th edition, Boston: Manning & Loring, →OCLC, page 76.

Further reading edit

Anagrams edit

Breton edit

Noun edit

person m (plural personed)

  1. vicar

Inflection edit

Danish edit

Etymology edit

From Latin persona.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

person c (singular definite personen, plural indefinite personer)

  1. person
  2. character
  3. figure
  4. people

Inflection edit

References edit

Esperanto edit

Noun edit

person

  1. accusative singular of perso

Finnish edit

Adjective edit

person

  1. genitive singular of perso

Indonesian edit

 
Indonesian Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia id

Etymology edit

From Dutch persoon, from Middle Dutch persone, ultimately from Latin persōna. Doublet of persona.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

person (first-person possessive personku, second-person possessive personmu, third-person possessive personnya)

  1. person, individual
    Synonyms: perseorangan, pribadi

Related terms edit

Further reading edit

Norwegian Bokmål edit

Etymology edit

From Latin persona.

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /pær.suːn/, [pæ.ˈʂuːn] (Standard Eastern Norwegian)
  • (file)

Noun edit

person m (definite singular personen, indefinite plural personer, definite plural personene)

  1. a person

Derived terms edit

References edit

Norwegian Nynorsk edit

Etymology edit

From Latin persona.

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /pær.suːn/, [pæ.ˈʂuːn]

Noun edit

person m (definite singular personen, indefinite plural personar, definite plural personane)

  1. a person

Derived terms edit

References edit

Scots edit

Noun edit

person (plural people)

  1. (law) An individual with rights and responsibilities under the law.
  2. (law) An individual or formal organisation with standing before the courts.
  3. In fiction, any sentient or socially intelligent being.

Swedish edit

Etymology edit

From Latin persona.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

person c

  1. a person, (in the plural) people
    Synonym: (in the plural, colloquial) pers
    Tolv personer deltog i mötet
    Twelve people attended the meeting
    Jag har inget emot dig som person
    I have nothing against you as a person
  2. (grammar) person

Usage notes edit

Not formal like persons in the plural. Matches people in tone.

Declension edit

Declension of person 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative person personen personer personerna
Genitive persons personens personers personernas

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

See also edit

References edit

Anagrams edit

Welsh edit

Etymology edit

Ultimately borrowed from Latin persōna (mask used by actor; role, part, character), probably via Middle English and Old French persone (human being).

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

person m (plural personau)

  1. person
    Synonym: unigolyn

Derived terms edit

Noun edit

person m (plural personiaid)

  1. parson
  2. clergyman
    Synonyms: clerigwr, offeiriad

Mutation edit

Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
person berson mherson pherson
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

References edit

  • R. J. Thomas, G. A. Bevan, P. J. Donovan, A. Hawke et al., editors (1950–present), “person”, in Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru Online (in Welsh), University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies