person
Pronunciation
  • (RP) IPA: /ˈpɜːsən/, [ˈpʰɜːsn̩]
  • (America) enPR pûrʹsn, IPA: /ˈpɝsən/, [ˈpʰɚsn̩]

Noun

person (plural persons)

  1. An individual; usually a human being. [from 13th c.]
    • 1784, William Jones, The Description and Use of a New Portable Orrery, &c., [http://www.google.co.uk/books?id=4SoIAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA1&dq=ph%C3%A6nomena#PPA1,M1 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.
    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.
      • 1622, Francis, Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Alban [i.e. Francis Bacon], The Historie of the Raigne of King Henry the Seventh, […], London: Printed by W[illiam] Stansby for Matthew Lownes, and William Barret, OCLC 1086746628 ↗:
        his first appearance upon the stage in his new person of a sycophant or juggler
      • No man can long put on a person and act a part.
      • 1667, John Milton, “Book 9”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
        To bear rule, which was thy part / And person, hadst thou known thyself aright.
      • How different is the same man from himself, as he sustains the person of a magistrate and that of a friend!
    2. (Christianity) Any one of the three hypostases of the Holy Trinity: the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit.
      • three persons and one God
    3. (chiefly, in science fiction) 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.
  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 54573970 ↗, partition III, section 1, member 2, subsection iii:
      when the young ladies laughed at her for it, she replied, that it was not his person that she did embrace and reverence, but, with a Platonic love, the divine beauty of his soul.
    • 1897, Henry James, What Maisie Knew:
      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) 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 ...
    • 1972, Evans v. Ewels, Weekly Law Reports, vol. 1, page 671 at pp. 674–675:
      It seems to me that at any rate today, and indeed by 1824, the word "person" in connection with sexual matters had acquired a meaning of its own; a meaning which made it a synonym for "penis." It may be ... that it was the forerunner of Victorian gentility which prevented people calling a penis a penis. But however that may be I am satisfied in my own mind that it has now acquired an established meaning to the effect already stated. It is I venture to say, well known amongst those who practise in the courts that the word "person" is so used over and over again. It is the familiar synonym of that part of the body, and, as one of the reasons for my decision in this case, I would use that interpretation of what was prevailing in 1824 and what has become established in the 150 years since then.
  5. (grammar) A linguistic category used to distinguish between the speaker of an utterance and those to whom or about whom he is 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.
    • True corms, composed of united personae […] usually arise by gemmation, […] yet in sponges and corals occasionally by fusion of several originally distinct persons.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations
  • Russian: персона́ж
Translations Translations Translations
Verb

person (persons, present participle personing; past and past participle personed)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To represent as a person; to personify; to impersonate.
  2. (transitive, gender-neutral) To man.

Person
Proper noun
  1. Surname



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