"Personality" can also mean an important or well-known personage, usually in showbiz, like a radio personality (e.g., Howard Stern). People who rely on their personal charm and "quirks" to make their living could be called personalities. They might give seminars, get paid for speeches, have lots of pictures taken of themselves, and act like they all that and a bag of chips. Once they pass out of vogue, some personalities wither into nonexistence. Others, like Dick Clark, are immortal (and that's not just because of the formaldehyde and MSG they rub into his hide every morning).

Personality is more than just interaction in that it involves how you fundamentally process and react to information.
A person with a genial personality might get his foot stepped on in line at the movie theater. He processes the fact that his foot was stepped on, decides that it was obviously accidental, and does not react, except perhaps to politely request that the person not step on his foot.
Now take someone with a less genial personality, perhaps a burly redneck with poor impulse control and a tendency towards violent behaviour. He processes the fact that his foot was stepped on, decides that the person who stepped on his foot is homosexual, because a decent, God-fearing Christian heterosexual would never step on someone's foot like that. He then proceeds to beat the living crap out of the poor schmuck who stepped on his foot.
personality: the uniqueness that characterizes an individual as a person as compared with, and in response to others, with respect to consistency or inconsistency of behavior and life-style [from Latin, persona, a mask, as worn by actors].

Dictionary of Sexology Project: Main Index

The sum total of all the characteristics of a person---including the mental, moral, physical, and social qualities---as they are perceived by other people. The word may be used either in a popular sense, in which the meaning is linked simply to the type of person as seen by others, or in a psychological sense, in which the meaning is more complex and sometimes less obvious.

Psychoanalysts regard personality as the result of the interaction between instinct and the environment. Other schools of psychology and psychiatry have more complicated explanations, combining the effects of heredity, upbringing, experience, and biochemical factors.

One of the most widely followed divisions is Carl Jung's categories of extroverted and introverted personalities. The distinction in technical terms is that the extrovert directs his libido and instinctual energy toward the environment, whereas the introvert has weak instinctual energy and directs it inward toward himself. Most persons combine aspects of both personality types, and the extreme examples of either can be recognized by their behavior.

Personality may have no medical connotations at all. To describe a person as having an "unpleasant" personality or a "miserable" personality is not to suggest that he is in any way mentally ill. On the other hand, there are various defects in behavior or life-style that are regarded widely as personality disorders. These are characterized by pathological trends in personality structure, with or without anxiety---in most cases manifested by a lifelong pattern of abnormal action of behavior.

Sociopathic personality disturbance for instance, may be a pathological relationship between the person and the society in which he lives, manifested by irresponsibility, inability to feel guilt, impulsiveness, and poor interpersonal relationships.

Various mental disorders often are expressed in terms of personality. Sufferers will be categorized as paranoid personalities, borderline personalities, schizoid personalities, or dependant personalities. There are also authenticated cases of multiple personality, which most authorities believe are delusional in character. In all these cases personality is distorted into an abnormal type by the underlying mental or emotional disorder.

Per`son*al"i*ty (?), n.; pl. Personalities (#). [Cf. F. personnalit'e. Cf. Personality.]


That which constitutes distinction of person; individuality.

Personality is individuality existing in itself, but with a nature as a ground. Coleridge.


Something said or written which refers to the person, conduct, etc., of some individual, especially something of a disparaging or offensive nature; personal remarks; as, indulgence in personalities.

Sharp personalities were exchanged. Macaulay.

3. Law

That quality of a law which concerns the condition, state, and capacity of persons.



© Webster 1913.

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