Personal vs. Private: What's the Difference?
Personal pertains to an individual, often reflecting characteristics or preferences, while private emphasizes confidentiality or restricted access.
Personal and private are two adjectives that often intersect in meaning but have distinct applications. Personal refers to something that belongs to or is associated with a particular person, often reflecting their characteristics, emotions, or preferences. On the other hand, private pertains to something that is meant to be kept away from public view or knowledge, emphasizing its confidential nature.
When we talk about personal items, we often mean things like personal letters, personal opinions, or personal belongings, which directly relate to an individual's life, emotions, or experiences. Conversely, private usually highlights the idea of exclusion from the general public or unauthorized personnel, such as in private property or private information.
Personal can also suggest something that is tailored to an individual's unique preferences or needs. For instance, a personal trainer designs workout regimes tailored to individual clients. In contrast, private can suggest exclusivity, as seen in the context of private schools or private clubs, where admission is restricted.
It's important to note that while all private matters are personal in nature, not all personal matters are private. For example, a personal hobby might be known widely among friends and acquaintances but doesn't necessarily mean it's private. On the contrary, private matters are generally considered sensitive and are typically concealed from the wider public.
In sum, personal largely revolves around individual identity, characteristics, and associations, whereas private emphasizes secrecy, confidentiality, and restricted access.
Relating to an individual, reflecting characteristics or preferences.
Emphasizing confidentiality or restricted access.
Personal opinion, personal belongings.
Private property, private information.
Individuality and specificity.
Secrecy and exclusivity.
All private matters are personal.
Not all personal matters are private.
Can describe feelings, experiences, and preferences.
Often describes restricted areas, events, or data.
Personal and Private Definitions
Relating to or affecting a particular individual.
He has his personal reasons for resigning.
Belonging to or concerning an individual person, company, or interest.
This is my private property.
Of, affecting, or belonging to a specific person rather than anyone else.
She packed her personal belongings in a suitcase.
Free from any possibility of being observed or disturbed by others.
He needed a private moment to collect his thoughts.
Concerning one's private life, relationships, and emotions.
I don't want to discuss my personal life.
Concerned with, authorized for, or participated in by an individual or specific group.
She attended a private school.
Tailored for or responsive to individual needs.
The app offers personal recommendations based on user behavior.
Secluded from the sight, presence, or intrusion of others
A private hideaway.
Of or relating to a particular person; private
“Like their personal lives, women's history is fragmented, interrupted” (Elizabeth Janeway).
Designed or intended for one's exclusive use
A private room.
Done, made, or performed in person
A personal appearance.
Of or confined to the individual; personal
A private joke.
Done to or for or directed toward a particular person
A personal favor.
Undertaken on an individual basis
Concerning a particular person and that person's private business, interests, or activities; intimate
I have something personal to tell you.
Of, relating to, or receiving special hospital services and privileges
A private patient.
Aimed pointedly at the most intimate aspects of a person, especially in a critical or hostile manner
An uncalled-for, highly personal remark.
Not available for public use, control, or participation
A private club.
A private party.
Tending to make remarks, or be unduly questioning, about another's affairs
As the student debate got heated, it got personal.
Belonging to a particular person or persons, as opposed to the public or the government
Of or relating to the body or physical being
Of, relating to, or derived from nongovernment sources
Relating to or having the nature of a person or self-conscious being
Belief in a personal God.
Conducted and supported primarily by individuals or groups not affiliated with governmental agencies or corporations
A private college.
A private sanatorium.
(Law) Of or relating to the person
Personal property as opposed to real property.
Personal jurisdiction as opposed to in rem jurisdiction.
Enrolled in or attending a private school
A private student.
(Grammar) Indicating grammatical person.
Capitalized in shares of stock that are held by a relatively small number of owners and are not traded on the open market
A private company.
A company that went private.
Took a company private.
A personal item or notice in a newspaper.
Not holding an official or public position
A private citizen.
Personals A column in a newspaper or magazine featuring personal notices.
Not for public knowledge or disclosure; secret
A private communication.
Pertaining to persons (human beings as opposed to things or animals).
Not appropriate for use or display in public; intimate
A private tragedy.
Of or pertaining to a particular person; relating to, or affecting, an individual, or each of many individuals
Her song was her personal look at the values of friendship.
Placing a high value on personal privacy
A private person.
Dealing with subjects about which one wishes (or people usually wish) to maintain privacy or discretion; not for public view; sensitive, intimate.
You can't read my diary—it is personal.
That's a very personal question.
I can't believe you went through my drawers and looked at all my personal things!
A noncommissioned rank in the US Army or Marine Corps that is below private first class.
(euphemistic) Intended for sexual use.
Personal lubricant; personal massager
One who holds this rank or a similar rank in another military organization.
Pertaining to the external or bodily appearance; corporeal; bodily.
Privates Private parts. Often used with the.
Done in person; without an intermediary.
A personal interview
A personal meeting
Belonging to, concerning, or accessible only to an individual person or a specific group.
Her address is private; you can't have it.
Relating to an individual, their character, conduct, motives, or private affairs, in an invidious and offensive manner
Personal reflections or remarks
Not accessible by the public.
(grammar) Denoting a person or people.
A personal pronoun
Not in governmental office or employment.
He quit public life, living quietly as a private citizen.
One's personal vehicle, as opposed to a company vehicle
Not publicly known; not open; secret.
The identity of the beneficiaries of the trust is private.
An advertisement by which an individual attempts to meet others with similar interests.
Protected from view or disturbance by others; secluded.
Can we go somewhere more private?
One's own property or asset
Not traded by the public.
Pertaining to human beings as distinct from things.
Every man so termed by way of personal difference.
He is a very private person.
Of or pertaining to a particular person; relating to, or affecting, an individual, or each of many individuals; peculiar or proper to private concerns; not public or general; as, personal comfort; personal desire.
The words are conditional, - If thou doest well, - and so personal to Cain.
Not shared with another patient.
Pertaining to the external or bodily appearance; corporeal; as, personal charms.
Accessible only to the class itself or instances of it, and not to other classes or even subclasses.
Done in person; without the intervention of another.
The immediate and personal speaking of God.
A soldier of the lowest rank in the army.
Relating to an individual, his character, conduct, motives, or private affairs, in an invidious and offensive manner; as, personal reflections or remarks.
A doctor working in privately rather than publicly funded health care.
Denoting person; as, a personal pronoun.
A movable; a chattel.
(obsolete) A secret message; a personal unofficial communication.
A short newspaper article about a particular person or group
(obsolete) Personal interest; particular business.
Concerning or affecting a particular person or his or her private life and personality;
A personal favor
For your personal use
I have something personal to tell you
A personal God
He has his personal bank account and she has hers
(obsolete) Privacy; retirement.
Particular to a given individual
(obsolete) One not invested with a public office.
Of or arising from personality;
A private lesson.
If you want to learn ballet, consider taking privates.
Intimately concerning a person's body or physical being;
To make something hidden from the public (without deleting it permanently).
Indicating grammatical person;
Personal verb endings
Belonging to, or concerning, an individual person, company, or interest; peculiar to one's self; unconnected with others; personal; one's own; not public; not general; separate; as, a man's private opinion; private property; a private purse; private expenses or interests; a private secretary.
Directly interacting with or dedicated to an individual.
He hired a personal tutor for his son.
Sequestered from company or observation; appropriated to an individual; secret; secluded; lonely; solitary; as, a private room or apartment; private prayer.
Reason . . . then retiresInto her private cell when nature rests.
Not invested with, or engaged in, public office or employment; as, a private citizen; private life.
A private person may arrest a felon.
Not publicly known; not open; secret; as, a private negotiation; a private understanding.
Having secret or private knowledge; privy.
A secret message; a personal unofficial communication.
Personal interest; particular business.
Nor must I be unmindful of my private.
One not invested with a public office.
What have kings, that privates have not too?
A common soldier; a soldier below the grade of a noncommissioned officer.
The private parts; the genitals.
An enlisted man of the lowest rank;
Our prisoner was just a private and knew nothing of value
Confined to particular persons or groups or providing privacy;
A private place
A private club
A private secretary
The former President is now a private citizen
Public figures struggle to maintain a private life
Concerning things deeply private and personal;
Private family matters
Concerning one person exclusively;
We all have individual cars
Each room has a private bath
Secret (or private) thoughts
Not open to the public or general populace.
The celebrity held a private party at his mansion.
Keeping to oneself; not publicly known.
He has a private ambition to write a novel.
Does personal always mean it's about an individual?
Generally, yes. Personal typically refers to something related to or affecting an individual.
Is a personal email address always private?
While personal email addresses pertain to individuals, they may not always be private if they're shared or known publicly.
Can something be both personal and private?
Yes, a personal diary can also be considered private if it's meant to be kept secret.
Can private be used to describe feelings?
Yes, one can have private fears or hopes, meaning feelings they haven't disclosed.
Can a company have private information?
Yes, companies can have private data or trade secrets that aren't disclosed to the public.
What's a personal computer?
A personal computer is a computer designed for use by one individual at a time.
Can opinions be personal but not private?
Yes, one can have a personal opinion that they openly share, making it not private.
Does a personal check mean it's from an individual?
Yes, a personal check is typically written from an individual's bank account.
What's meant by private equity?
Private equity refers to capital not listed on a public exchange, typically invested in companies.
Are all private schools exclusive?
Not necessarily. While many private schools have selective admissions, not all are exclusive.
Is personal data always private data?
Not always. Personal data relates to an individual, but if it's publicly accessible, it isn't private.
Is a private investigator always in secret?
While private investigators often work discreetly, they don't always operate in complete secrecy.
Can events be private?
Yes, events like weddings or meetings can be private, restricted to invited guests.
Are private messages encrypted?
Some platforms encrypt private messages, but it's not a guarantee for all services.
What's a personal preference?
Personal preference refers to an individual's specific likes or choices.
What is meant by a private citizen?
A private citizen refers to someone not holding a public or official position.
Can something be private in a public setting?
Yes, a private conversation can occur in a public place, implying it's meant only for specific individuals.
Can a personal touch be added to work?
Yes, a personal touch means adding an individual's unique style or touch to something.
Can businesses offer personal services?
Yes, businesses can offer services tailored to individual customer needs.
Is a personal identity the same as private identity?
No. Personal identity relates to individual characteristics, while private identity might refer to aspects one keeps secret.
Written bySawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited bySumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.