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



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

Other Words from individual


individually adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Options trading by individual investors is fading, the latest sign that the stock market’s speculative fever has broken. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, 15 May 2022 On Thursday, President Biden released a plan to return infant formula to store shelves, involving the Federal Trade Commission, individual states and the private sector. Monica Hesse, Washington Post, 13 May 2022 But others note that individual investors should be able to fight back against larger institutional firms and hedge funds that may be unfairly targeting a stock and shorting it. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 12 May 2022 Enavate plans to raise an additional $200 million to $300 million this year from family offices and wealthy individual investors, according to its chief executive, James Boylan. Allison Deangelis, STAT, 4 May 2022 First, the powers of individual states to determine whether abortions are legally available are increasing. Morgan Marietta, The Conversation, 4 May 2022 That would leave it up to individual states to decide whether or not to allow abortions. Alan Murray, Fortune, 3 May 2022 Conservative states have passed a slew of antiabortion laws in recent years in anticipation of the matter being left to individual states. Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2022 That would let individual states decide whether to ban the procedure within their borders. Sophia Bollag, Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun First, faith is a matter to be cultivated and incubated and cherished between an individual and God. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 May 2022 Jewish energies have been invested largely in individual and family advancement, not group advancement via militancy and street politics. Elliot Kaufman, WSJ, 11 May 2022 Officers treated the individual and the Oak Creek Fire Department attempted life-saving measures, but the man, whom police did not identify, was pronounced dead at the scene. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10 May 2022 In the past crowdfunding has allowed an individual or a project’s following to become intrinsically involved in the development process. Josh Wilson, Forbes, 6 May 2022 On-field workouts may include individual or group instruction and drills, with offense vs. offense and defense vs. defense conducted at a walk through pace. cleveland, 3 May 2022 And please consider signing on as an individual or business sponsor of the new Los Angeles Times Community Fund, which supports our book club and annual book prizes. Los Angeles Times, 30 Apr. 2022 The foundation was announced as the winner of the award, which is presented to an individual or an organization that has made a significant difference in providing justice for crime victims, on April 20. Wilson Chapman, Variety, 30 Apr. 2022 Now, behavioral health services, like individual and group therapy, will be permanently available through telehealth, even after the end of the public health emergency. Tasnim Ahmed, CNN, 29 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of individual


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4


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

History and Etymology for individual


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

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Time Traveler for individual

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near individual



individual bond

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Statistics for individual

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Individual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for individual


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



Kids Definition of individual (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a single member of a group
2 : a single human being

More from Merriam-Webster on individual

Nglish: Translation of individual for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of individual for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about individual


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