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a human being, whether an adult or child:
The table seats four persons.
a human being as distinguished from an animal or a thing.
an individual human being who likes or prefers something specified (used in combination):
I’ve never been a cat person.
Sociology. an individual human being, especially with reference to his or her social relationships and behavioral patterns as conditioned by the culture.
Philosophy. a self-conscious or rational being.
the actual self or individual personality of a human being:
You ought not to generalize, but to consider the person you are dealing with.
the body of a living human being, sometimes including the clothes being worn:
He had no money on his person.
the body in its external aspect:
an attractive person to look at.
a character, part, or role, as in a play or story.
an individual of distinction or importance.
a person not entitled to social recognition or respect.
Law. a human being (natural person) or a group of human beings, a corporation, a partnership, an estate, or other legal entity (artificial person or juristic person) recognized by law as having rights and duties.
Grammar. a category found in many languages that is used to distinguish between the speaker of an utterance and those to or about whom he or she is speaking. In English there are three persons in the pronouns, the first represented by I and we, the second by you, and the third by he, she, it, and they. Most verbs have distinct third person singular forms in the present tense, as writes; the verb be has, in addition, a first person singular form am.
Theology. any of the three hypostases or modes of being in the Trinity, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
be one’s own person, to be free from restrictions, control, or dictatorial influence:
Now that she’s working, she feels that she’s her own person.
in person, in one’s own bodily presence; personally:
Applicants are requested to apply in person.
a combining form of person, replacing in existing compound words such paired, sex-specific forms as -man, and -woman, or -er1, and -ess:
chairperson; salesperson; waitperson.
Contemporary Examples

In person, Reiner is gregarious and very chatty, regaling you with great anecdotes from his back catalogue.
Rob Reiner on the State of Romcoms, ‘The Princess Bride’s’ Alternate Ending, and the Red Viper Marlow Stern July 26, 2014

Every person with whom I spoke about re-engaging with their Judaism had something different in mind.
Between J Street and the Pew Survey Emily L. Hauser October 6, 2013

As a person, he remains popular with many publics around the world.
McChrystal Must Go James Hoge June 21, 2010

There is one person who is most definitely not a fan of Monopoly: Fidel Castro.
Fidel Castro Hates Monopoly & 12 More Reasons to Love It Caroline Linton February 5, 2013

I understand you are the person handling this Klamath situation, and I have some questions.
Cheney in History David Frum March 25, 2012

Historical Examples

In short, when a person is always to deceive, it is impossible to be consistent.
Lady Susan Jane Austen

I ain’t ever met a person yet was satisfied with the hole they was in.
The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson

Why, man, the person who took this reckoning, took it this morning!
The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling

Ambrose was the only person who ever received any communication from Giles Headley.
The Armourer’s Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge

After a death the friends of the family should call in person inside of a month.
The Etiquette of To-day Edith B. Ordway

noun (pl) persons
an individual human being
the body of a human being, sometimes including his or her clothing: guns hidden on his person
a grammatical category into which pronouns and forms of verbs are subdivided depending on whether they refer to the speaker, the person addressed, or some other individual, thing, etc
a human being or a corporation recognized in law as having certain rights and obligations
(philosophy) a being characterized by consciousness, rationality, and a moral sense, and traditionally thought of as consisting of both a body and a mind or soul
(archaic) a character or role; guise
in person

actually present: the author will be there in person
without the help or intervention of others

(Christianity) any of the three hypostases existing as distinct in the one God and constituting the Trinity. They are the First Person, the Father, the Second Person, the Son, and the Third Person, the Holy Ghost
sometimes used instead of -man and -woman or -lady: chairperson, salesperson

early 13c., from Old French persone “human being, anyone, person” (12c., Modern French personne) and directly from Latin persona “human being, person, personage; a part in a drama, assumed character,” originally “mask, false face,” such as those of wood or clay worn by the actors in later Roman theater. OED offers the general 19c. explanation of persona as “related to” Latin personare “to sound through” (i.e. the mask as something spoken through and perhaps amplifying the voice), “but the long o makes a difficulty ….” Klein and Barnhart say it is possibly borrowed from Etruscan phersu “mask.” Klein goes on to say this is ultimately of Greek origin and compares Persephone.

Of corporate entities from mid-15c. The use of -person to replace -man in compounds and avoid alleged sexist connotations is first recorded 1971 (in chairperson). In person “by bodily presence” is from 1560s. Person-to-person first recorded 1919, originally of telephone calls.

person per·son (pûr’sən)

A living human.

The composite of characteristics that make up an individual personality; the self.

The living body of a human.

Physique and general appearance.

An inflectional form (see inflection) of pronouns and verbs that distinguishes between the person who speaks (first person), the person who is spoken to (second person), and the person who is spoken about (third person). The pronoun or verb may be singular or plural. For example:

first person singular: I walk.
second person singular: you walk.
third person singular: he/she/it walks.
first person plural: we walk.
second person plural: you walk.
third person plural: they walk.

In addition to the idiom beginning with


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    the female human being, as distinguished from a girl or a man. an adult female person. a female attendant to a lady of rank. a wife. the nature, characteristics, or feelings often attributed to women; womanliness. a sweetheart or paramour; mistress. a female employee or representative: A woman from the real estate agency called. a […]

  • Behest

    a command or directive. an earnest or strongly worded request. Contemporary Examples Jackson declined to comment on the case, saying it was at the behest of his lawyer. Prof: MIT Hospitalized Me For Ferguson Tweets Nina Strochlic December 10, 2014 Or the time he ran and hid—at his mother’s behest—during the Battle of the Blackwater. […]

  • Behold

    to observe; look at; see. look; see: And, behold, three sentries of the King did appear. Contemporary Examples A consumer society without taste is a horrible thing to behold. Britain is in No Position to Rule the Waves Noah Kristula-Green March 7, 2012 He wore a sparkly jacket that was terrifying to behold, but was […]

  • Beholden

    obligated; indebted: a man beholden to no one. Contemporary Examples beholden to a base that, like a capricious autocrat, will turn against them at the slightest provocation. Ted Cruz is Still Not Here to Make Friends Jamelle Bouie February 25, 2014 The religious parties themselves are not, contrary to popular assumption, beholden only to right-wing […]

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