1. A living human. Often used in combination: chairperson; salesperson. See Usage Note at chairman.
2. An individual of specified character: a person of importance.
3. The composite of characteristics that make up an individual personality; the self.
4. The living body of a human: searched the prisoner's person.
5. Physique and general appearance.
6. Law A human, corporation, organization, partnership, association, or other entity deemed or construed to be governed by a particular law.
7. 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.
a. 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).
b. Any of the different forms or inflections expressing these distinctions.
9. A character or role, as in a play; a guise: "Well, in her person, I say I will not have you" (Shakespeare).
In one's physical presence; personally: applied for the job in person.
[Middle English, from Old French persone, from Latin persōna, mask, role, person, probably from Etruscan phersu, mask.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.