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per·son  audio  (pûrsn) KEY 

NOUN:
  1. A living human. Often used in combination: chairperson; spokesperson; salesperson.
  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 or organization with legal rights and duties.
  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.
  8. Grammar
    1. 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).
    2. 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).

IDIOM:
in person
In one's physical presence; personally: applied for the job in person.

ETYMOLOGY:
Middle English, from Old French persone, from Latin persna, mask, role, person, probably from Etruscan phersu, mask
Usage Note:
The word person has found widespread use in recent decades as a gender-neutral alternative to man in the names of occupational and social roles, such as businessperson, chairperson, spokesperson, and layperson. In addition, a variety of entirely new, more inclusive phrases have arisen to compete with or supplant -man compounds. Now we often hear first-year student instead of freshman and letter carrier instead of mailman. In other cases, a clipped form, such as chair for chairman, or a phrase, such as member of the clergy for clergyman, has found widespread use as a neutral alternative. Reflecting this trend, new standards of official usage for occupational titles have been established by the U.S. Department of Labor and other government agencies; for instance, in official contexts, terms such as firefighter and police officer are now generally used in place of fireman and policeman. See Usage Note at man.


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