late 14c., "private, pertaining to the self or to a self-conscious individual; performed by the individual himself," from Old French personal (12c., Modern French personnel), from Late Latin personalis "pertaining to a person," from Latin persona (see person).
The meaning "applicable to, directed at, or aimed at some particular person" (usually in a hostile manner) is attested from 1610s. Designating an official or employee attached to one's person (as in personal secretary) by 1928.
The noun sense of "newspaper item about private matters" is attested from 1888. As "a classified ad addressed to an individual," it is recorded from 1861. Personal computer is from 1976.
For the unetymological e-, see e-. Sense of "property" is late 14c., from that of "worldly prosperity;" specific application to "landed property" (usually of large extent) is first recorded in American English 1620s. A native word for this was Middle English ethel (Old English æðel) "ancestral land or estate, patrimony." Meaning "collective assets of a dead person or debtor" is from 1830.
The three estates (in Sweden and Aragon, four) conceived as orders in the body politic date from late 14c. In France, they are the clergy, nobles, and townsmen; in England, originally the clergy, barons, and commons, later Lords Spiritual, Lords Temporal, and commons. For Fourth Estate see four.
"the press," by 1824, and especially from 1831, British English. For the other three, see estate. Earlier the term had been applied in various senses that did not stick, including "the mob" (1752), "the lawyers" (1825). The extension to the press is perhaps an outgrowth of the former.
Hence, through the light of letters and the liberty of the press, public opinion has risen to the rank of a fourth estate in our constitution; in times of quiet and order, silent and still, but in the collisions of the different branches of our government, deciding as an umpire with unbounded authority. ["Memoir of James Currie, M.D.," 1831]
[Newspapers] began to assume some degree of political importance, during the civil wars of the seventeenth century, in England; but it is not until within the last fifty years that they have become, — as they are now justly styled, — a Fourth Estate, exercising a more powerful influence on the public affairs of the countries in which they are permitted to circulate freely, than the other three put together. [Alexander H. Everett, "Address to the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Bowdoin College," 1834]
1811, "a book printed by William Caxton (obit c. 1491), English merchant in the Netherlands who learned there the art of printing and introduced it to England. The surname is from the place in Cambridgeshire, literally "Kak's estate," from the Old Norse personal name Kakkr.
1837, "body of persons engaged in any service," from French personnel (originally military, a contrastive term to matériel), noun use of personnel (adj.) "personal," from Old French personel (see personal).
city in northern England, Old English Eoforwic, earlier Eborakon (c. 150), an ancient Celtic name, probably meaning "Yew-Tree Estate," but Eburos may also be a personal name. Related: Yorkist; Yorkish; Yorker. Yorkshire pudding is recorded from 1747; Yorkshire terrier first attested 1872; short form Yorkie is from 1950.
Al þe longage of þe Norþhumbres, and specialych at Õork, ys so scharp, slyttyng, and frotyng, and vnschape, þat we souþeron men may þat longage vnneþe vndurstonde. [Ranulph Higden’s "Polychronicon," mid-14c., John Trevisa's translation, 1380s]