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adjective in·di·vid·u·al \ˌin-də-ˈvij-wəl, -ˈvi-jə-wəl, -ˈvi-jəl, -ˈvi-jü-əl\

Simple Definition of individual

  • : of, relating to, or existing as just one member or part of a larger group

  • : having a special and unusual quality that is easily seen

  • : intended or designed for one person

Full Definition of individual

  1. 1 obsolete :  inseparable

  2. 2 a :  of, relating to, or distinctively associated with an individual <an individual effort> b :  being an individual or existing as an indivisible whole c :  intended for one person <an individual serving>

  3. 3 :  existing as a distinct entity :  separate

  4. 4 :  having marked individuality <an individual style>

in·di·vid·u·al·ly adverb

Examples of individual

  1. What are the individual traits of the breed?

  2. The doctor carefully evaluates the individual needs of her patients.

  3. Students will receive as much individual attention as possible.

  4. She has a very individual style of writing.

  5. a pattern as individual as a fingerprint

Origin of individual

Medieval Latin individualis, from Latin individuus indivisible, from in- + dividuus divided, from dividere to divide

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of individual

special, especial, specific, particular, individual mean of or relating to one thing or class. special stresses having a quality, character, identity, or use of its own <special ingredients>. especial may add implications of preeminence or preference <a matter of especial importance>. specific implies a quality or character distinguishing a kind or a species <children with specific nutritional needs>. particular stresses the distinctness of something as an individual <a ballet step of particular difficulty>. individual implies unequivocal reference to one of a class or group <valued each individual opinion>.

characteristic, individual, peculiar, distinctive mean indicating a special quality or identity. characteristic applies to something that distinguishes or identifies a person or thing or class <responded with her characteristic wit>. individual stresses qualities that distinguish one from all other members of the same kind or class <a highly individual writing style>. peculiar applies to qualities possessed only by a particular individual or class or kind and stresses rarity or uniqueness <an eccentricity that is peculiar to the British>. distinctive indicates qualities distinguishing and uncommon and often superior or praiseworthy <a distinctive aura of grace and elegance>.



noun in·di·vid·u·al

Simple Definition of individual

  • : a single person : a person who is considered separate from the rest of a group

  • : a particular person

  • : a single member or part of a group

Full Definition of individual

  1. 1 a :  a particular being or thing as distinguished from a class, species, or collection: as (1) :  a single human being as contrasted with a social group or institution <a teacher who works with individuals> (2) :  a single organism as distinguished from a group b :  a particular person <are you the individual I spoke with on the telephone?>

  2. 2 :  an indivisible entity

  3. 3 :  the reference of a name or variable of the lowest logical type in a calculus

Examples of individual

  1. They promote a philosophy that sacrifices the rights of the individual for the public welfare.

  2. They are both rather odd individuals.

  3. Are you the individual I spoke with on the telephone?

  4. She's a very talented individual.

  5. The markings on tigers are unique to each individual.


First Known Use of individual


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up individual? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

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