individual

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

Definition of individual 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or distinctively associated with an individual an individual effort

b : intended for one person an individual serving

c : being an individual or existing as an indivisible whole

2 : having marked individuality an individual style

3 : existing as a distinct entity : separate

4 obsolete : inseparable

individual

noun

Definition of individual (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a particular being or thing as distinguished from a class, species, or collection: such 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 : an indivisible entity

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

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Other Words from individual

Adjective

individually adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for individual

Adjective

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

Examples of individual in a Sentence

Adjective

What are the individual traits of the breed? The doctor carefully evaluates the individual needs of her patients. Students will receive as much individual attention as possible. She has a very individual style of writing. a pattern as individual as a fingerprint

Noun

They promote a philosophy that sacrifices the rights of the individual for the public welfare. They are both rather odd individuals. Are you the individual I spoke with on the telephone? She's a very talented individual. The markings on tigers are unique to each individual.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Some see a future in which stores and other public places are outfitted with voice assistants that will be able to recognize you and adapt their responses to your individual needs. Rani Molla, Recode, "Voice tech like Alexa and Siri hasn’t found its true calling yet: Inside the voice assistant ‘revolution’," 12 Nov. 2018 While individual sellers have to pay fees for each item sold, the big pro here is the opportunity to reach millions of customers already comfortable with buying through Amazon. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Best apps and sites for selling used home goods," 8 Nov. 2018 As a result, messages that pass through Signal’s central servers can be decrypted only by the recipients’ private key, which is stored only on the recipients’ individual devices. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Police decrypt 258,000 messages after breaking pricey IronChat crypto app," 7 Nov. 2018 Some three million will have been buying coverage on the individual market, meaning the rule should save the fisc money on increasingly expensive tax credits. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump’s Health-Care Progress," 4 Nov. 2018 That’s where your specialty knife selection comes in: the shape and length of blades chosen according to your individual cooking habits. Francine Maroukian, Popular Mechanics, "How To Buy Kitchen Knives Like a Pro," 24 Oct. 2018 But from the viewpoint of an individual living through it, the transition was pretty casual — manifesting, on occasion, as foragers and farmers talking shop above the thrum of a river. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "When Farmers and Foragers First Met," 24 Oct. 2018 And our individual and collective mental and spiritual well-being will be challenged. Sage Grace Dolan-sandrino, Teen Vogue, "I'm a Trans Student, and the Trump Administration Memo Won't Erase Me," 23 Oct. 2018 Officials say the move will bring more consumers into the individual health insurance market and promote competition. Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, The Seattle Times, "Trump administration unveils health options for small firms," 22 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Wealthy individuals are frequently advised by their accountants to do this to avoid the (quite low) inheritance tax. E.j. Roller, Vox, "We need to talk about how family money can make or break an arts career," 12 Nov. 2018 The recent concerns over Georgia's voter registration system are just the latest episode in which Georgia officials have pursued individuals for pointing out security issues with election systems. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "The ugly truth about voting security: States won’t fix it," 6 Nov. 2018 In Massachusetts, a proposal on the ballot seeks to repeal a law that protects transgender individuals. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Midterm Elections Are Almost Here—What You Need to Know Now," 5 Nov. 2018 Unlike most programs, which aim only to manage PTSD symptoms, Boulder Crest acknowledges that trauma fundamentally changes individuals; there is no returning to normal. Jim Rendon, Marie Claire, "When Female Veterans Return Home," 29 Oct. 2018 In times where algorithms make most of our decisions for us, one individual will entirely give up their free will for a day, to be guided by a large crowd of users through an epic quest to defeat an evil AI. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "For Halloween This Year, MIT Is Letting the Internet Control a Person," 29 Oct. 2018 The four-year inquest that delivered its final report in December revealed shocking evidence from more than 17,000 survivors and heard allegations against government, church and private institutions, as well as prominent individuals. Trevor Marshallsea, Fox News, "PM formally apologizes to Australian child sex abuse victims," 22 Oct. 2018 The Trans Relief Project provides monetary assistance and education to transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals who need help changing names and gender designate on legal documents such as US passports and driver's licenses. Allure, "6 Ways to Support Transgender and Nonbinary People Right Now," 21 Oct. 2018 Take New York City’s Gang Database, which currently lists between 17,000 and 20,000 individuals. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Facial recognition is becoming one of the 21st century’s biggest public space issues," 19 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'individual.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of individual

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for individual

Adjective

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

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Statistics for individual

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for individual

The first known use of individual was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for individual

individual

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of individual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

individual

noun

English Language Learners Definition of individual (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

individual

adjective
in·​di·​vid·​u·​al | \ˌin-də-ˈvi-jə-wəl \

Kids Definition of individual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : relating to a single member of a group individual needs

2 : intended for one person an individual pizza

3 : particular entry 1 sense 1, separate Each individual case is different.

4 : having a special quality : distinctive an individual style

Other Words from individual

individually adverb

individual

noun

Kids Definition of individual (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a single member of a group

2 : a single human being

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Comments on individual

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