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In daily life the term personality is very freely used by people with different meanings. Some people refer to the physical appearance like height, weight, colour, body built, dress, voice, etc. Some other people refer to intellectual qualities like intelligence, activeness, way of speech, thinking and reasoning abilities, etc.

It is also referred to social characteristics like sociability, generosity, kindness, reservedness, etc. On the basis of these characteristics they judge people as strong or weak personalities, good and bad personalities, etc.

In this way we all make personality judgments about the people we know. A major part of coming to understand ourselves is developing a sense of what our personality characteristics are. We even form impressions about personalities of people we do not know, but have only read about. As we shall see, these everyday uses of the term are quite different from the meaning psychologists give to the term personality.

The term personality has been derived from a Latin word ‘persona’- means ‘mask’. In olden days, while playing dramas, in order to give good effects to the roles played by them, the Greek actors used to wear masks.

The psychologists continue to use the term personality to indicate that, the real or inner qualities of a person will be different from, that of the qualities seen apparently. Hence, defining and understanding the personality is not very easy as it appears. It is very difficult to define personality in a precise way. Different psychologists have defined personality in their own ways. Two comprehensive definitions widely accepted are quoted here under:

GW Allport defines that, ‘personality is the dynamic organisation, within the individual of those psychological systems that determine his unique adjustment to his environment’.

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