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

As patients exited, the market followed: The number of medical-only retail shops fell from 400 to two, and hundreds of growers who contracted with individual patients to grow specific strains walked away. Angeliki Kastanis, BostonGlobe.com, "Broad pot legalization can hurt the medical marijuana industry, AP finds," 11 June 2019 The state would impose a fine on those who don’t purchase healthcare, a California version of the federal individual mandate that was rendered inert by Congress last year. John Myers, latimes.com, "California lawmakers will vote on a budget this week. But it’s not the end of the story," 10 June 2019 State legislation this year calling for more extensive government involvement in health insurance with subsidies and an individual mandate fell apart in the General Assembly under pressure from the industry. Stephen Singer, courant.com, "Blumenthal backs Medicare for all plan that would end role for private health insurance, a leading employer in Connecticut," 10 June 2019 Students pursued individual and collaborative projects in both print and digital forms. Kelly Chandler-olcott, The Conversation, "What advice articles miss about ‘summer loss’," 10 June 2019 Deadlines are a part of life, as is uncertainty over whether individual projects are going to succeed. The Economist, "Charity begins at work," 6 June 2019 Sidelinger said county officials have identified hotels whose rooms have individual air and heating units to keep the virus from spreading to other hotel guests. David Maung, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego migrant shelter still experiencing flu outbreak," 3 June 2019 For pretty much all of human civilization, the accumulation of tremendous wealth by an individual or family has typically resulted in a great house, perhaps even several. Steven Stolman, House Beautiful, "Sunnylands: The California Mansion That Has Hosted Frank Sinatra, Queen Elizabeth, and More," 18 Apr. 2019 Collective behavior in the form of a flocking pattern will emerge once there is a sufficient density of individual units. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "What we can learn about crowd behavior by watching the Tour de France," 19 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Abandoning animals is against the law and individuals can be prosecuted for their crime. Fox News, "Dog, 9 puppies dumped in sealed box at Canada landfill, officials say," 12 June 2019 Obsession is a trait Alford shares with many of the world’s most traveled individuals. David Ferry, SFChronicle.com, "Inside the mysterious sport of ‘country collecting’," 11 June 2019 Cyrus Vance, Robert Mueller, and Amy Berman Jackson may well be good parents, loving spouses, loyal friends, and charitable individuals. Dennis Prager, National Review, "Leftism Makes People Meaner," 11 June 2019 Online, forms are posted for individuals who wish to apply for Prop. 64 relief. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Up in smoke: Why thousands of marijuana convictions were reduced and others were not," 10 June 2019 According to the News-Herald, 34 individuals were investigated, 24 subpoenas were issued. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "A newborn was left to die 26 years ago. A mother’s arrest has led to baffling new questions.," 10 June 2019 Blumenthal also backs a plan proposed by his Connecticut colleague, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., allowing individuals to enroll in Medicare before turning 65, the current mandatory age. Stephen Singer, courant.com, "Blumenthal backs Medicare for all plan that would end role for private health insurance, a leading employer in Connecticut," 10 June 2019 Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, the policy pacesetters of the primary race, are leading the pack in guaranteeing access to higher education and on increasing taxes on the wealthiest individuals. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Democrats Are Winning the Battle of Ideas, But Could Still Lose the War," 10 June 2019 Milt is remembered by countless individuals for his kindness, respect, decency, honesty, integrity, sense of humor, and his heart of gold. sun-sentinel.com, "Deaths in South Florida: 6/9," 9 June 2019

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

14 Jun 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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Comments on individual

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