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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Those individual workers as a collective organized and walked out to put Google on notice. Kayla Webley Adler, Marie Claire, "Time's Up: One Year Later," 3 Jan. 2019 Place individual blooms in a vase and bend and twist stems outward to mimic the movement of live flowers, which face the sun. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "7 of the Best-Looking Fake Plants You Can Buy," 28 Dec. 2018 This might seem like a roundabout way of calculating the solution to the traveling salesman problem, but the advantage is that the amoeba doesn’t have to calculate every individual path like most computer algorithms do. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "A Single Cell Hints at a Solution to the Biggest Problem in Computer Science," 27 Dec. 2018 Buzz: During the two-hour brow-boosting treatment your specialist creates individual feather-like strokes with a tiny pen-like blade that delivers semi-permanent pigments under your skin. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "17 Over-the-Top Beauty Treatments to Try Before Your Wedding Day," 13 Dec. 2018 The last 10 percent will come when the technology can create and memorize individual speech models for every user. Kevin Wheeler, Curbed, "Why voice assistants don’t understand people who stutter," 12 Dec. 2018 Today, over 90 percent of messages sent on WhatsApp in Brazil are individual, one-on-one conversations. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook hired a new public defender, and he should start with WhatsApp," 20 Oct. 2018 Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood have had iconic individual careers. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "This Is Why You Never See Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood Apart," 29 Aug. 2018 Try a favorite of mine, Dior Addict Lip Glow Color Awakening Lip Balm, which adjusts to the individual chemistry of your lips, making them radiant. Nuy Cho, Redbook, "12 Korean Beauty Hacks for Perfect Skin," 17 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For each category, according to individuals with knowledge of the discussions, U.S. negotiators are pressing their Chinese counterparts to devise ways to ensure that Beijing will make good on its promises. Lingling Wei, WSJ, "U.S. Pushes China to Follow Through on Trade Promises," 7 Jan. 2019 The study compared 295 Neanderthal skull pieces, from individuals who lived between 20,000 and 80,000 years ago, to 541 contemporaneous humans (i.e., people like you and me) living in Eurasia. Julia Belluz, Vox, "7 bad science and health ideas that should die with 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 In 2019, 10 minutes of every hour spent consuming media across TV and internet will come from individuals streaming video on mobile. Casey Newton, The Verge, "22 predictions for social media in 2019," 15 Dec. 2018 And thanks to analysis of Burial 7/I and other remains through ancient DNA sequencing and other methods, researchers are uncovering more details — and more mysteries — about the individuals who called this bend in the river home. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "When Farmers and Foragers First Met," 24 Oct. 2018 Celebrities to everyday individuals opened up about their experiences on social media or in the news. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "People Share Their Own Stories of Sexual Assault in Solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford," 27 Sep. 2018 Organizations created to help individuals with health care free of charge could be stretched thin. Austin Horn, San Antonio Express-News, "With ACA under attack, a family racked by illness wonders what will happen to their health coverage," 13 July 2018 For example, the Chief Seattle Club will receive several million dollars to help build 75 studio apartments in Pioneer Square for homeless and low-income individuals, with a focus on serving Native American people. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "Seattle will spend $75M on affordable housing over the next year," 18 Dec. 2018 That brings us, inevitably, to Donald Trump, whose long history with the Miss Universe pageant, and of making disparaging comments about transgender individuals, loom large over our conversation. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, "Miss Universe Is Making History with the Pageant's First Openly Trans Contestant," 15 Dec. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about individual

Share individual

Statistics for individual

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for individual

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on individual

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

WORD OF THE DAY

involving abstract or general statements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!