individual

adjective
in·​di·​vid·​u·​al | \ ˌin-də-ˈvij-wəl How to pronounce individual (audio) , -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

People’s sneezing tendencies can be almost as individual as their fingerprints. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Quick Question: Why Do We Sneeze?," 8 Mar. 2019 Instead of making individual sweets, press this classic candy into a loaf pan and coat with pistachios for an easy spring treat. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Divinity Candy," 7 Mar. 2019 Windows 10 Home will suffice for the majority of individual or family users. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Who needs Windows 10 Pro: 5 reasons to upgrade," 5 Mar. 2019 Google’s employees donated the most so far — $3.7 million — to individual Democratic and Republican midterm campaigns. Rani Molla, Recode, "Tech employees are much more liberal than their employers — at least as far as the candidates they support," 31 Oct. 2018 Asparagus plants are monoecious — meaning each individual asparagus plant is either male or female. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow Garden-Fresh Asparagus," 19 Aug. 2018 With Roma, Cuarón also tied a record for the most individual nominations for a single film, because he was recognized as producer, director, writer, and cinematographer. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything You Need To Know About Roma Before it Sweeps the 2019 Oscars," 24 Feb. 2019 Will there be a giant cutout for the whole array, or six individual circles for the cameras and flash? Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Nokia 9 PureView hands-on: All of the cameras and none of the gimmicks," 24 Feb. 2019 The 2018 film delves deeper into each of the characters' individual trials and tribulations, and of course, features an instantly iconic soundtrack. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "What Is 'A Star Is Born' Really About? Here's a Look at All 4 Versions of the Movie," 24 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The individual had not been in the company for a tremendously long time; his work wasn’t even in the market [yet]. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Constant Innovation in a Culture of Inclusivity: A Conversation With Tapestry CEO Victor Luis," 30 Jan. 2019 This one may be the most highly variable depending on the individual. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Exactly How Often You Really Need to See Different Kinds of Doctors," 17 Jan. 2019 The suspected shooter, identified as James E. Waters, 37, opened fire from inside the home while the officers attempted to apprehend the individual. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Missouri police officer killed, 2 others wounded in shooting; suspect dead," 2 Oct. 2018 Mental health services are among the 10 essential health benefits that the Affordable Care Act requires insurance plans in the individual and small group marketplace to cover, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "7 Ways to Find an Actually Affordable Therapist," 15 Feb. 2019 The individuals were chosen from many applications and nominations. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "Designer Bobby Berk And The Queer Eye Guys Are Filming In Japan," 24 Jan. 2019 If these numbers are correct, the species simply won’t be able to reproduce fast enough to replace the individuals that die off. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Monarch Butterflies Are on the Verge of Extinction," 17 Jan. 2019 Below, some of the most famous individuals ever honored at Buckingham Palace. Vogue, "Emma Thompson, Mick Jagger, and All the Celebrities Knighted by the British Royal Family," 7 Nov. 2018 Candida albicans is a ubiquitous fungus that typically causes serious harm only to people with a weakened immune system, and yet some otherwise healthy individuals suffer repeated bouts of infection. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "Extreme Flu? Weird Encephalitis? It May Be Your Genes," 13 July 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

22 Mar 2019

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 How to pronounce individual (audio) \

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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