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

Meghan and Harry sent individual replies to each of the students, and their teacher shared one of the letters on social media. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle & Prince Harry Just Sent the Sweetest Letters to a Group of Schoolchildren," 13 Apr. 2019 Ingels’s hexagonal world on the ocean’s surface comprises individual units that are systematically combined to create a city. Samantha Swenson, ELLE Decor, "Is Oceanix City by Bjarke Ingels the Real-Life Lost Continent of Atlantis?," 12 Apr. 2019 Here’s a photo of ULCANS in action: Does this mean that individual soldiers could be hidden from enemy sensors? Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Army Wants to Block Heat Signatures of Soldiers and Tanks," 11 Apr. 2019 The site showcases Isabel’s abstract art, the couple’s collective photography, and individual personal writing. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "What Is Jacob Roloff’s Net Worth? Here’s What the ‘Little People, Big World’ Star Does for a Living," 9 Apr. 2019 During this week's individual immunity challenge, contestants had to stand on a wooden frame with a block perched between their heads and the top of the structure. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "'Survivor' Sparks Controversy for the Show's Reaction to Lauren O'Connell's Scary Fall," 4 Apr. 2019 Resort guests can usually find Pono greeting visitors in the lobby or hanging out with the horses at the horseback-riding facility, and those who want more individual pup-time can even go hiking with him! Michele Petry, House Beautiful, "Dog Lovers, This Hawaiian Resort's Canine Ambassador Awaits You," 3 Apr. 2019 The bloom period each spring is only about a month long, and each individual tree only blooms for a week or two. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "How Cherry Blossoms Became the Most Celebrated Event of the Spring," 2 Apr. 2019 To assess your individual risk, online tools like Bright Pink’s Assess Your Risk Quiz can help, but always make sure to talk to your doctor to create the health plan that makes the most sense for you and your breasts. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, "Mammograms Don't Have to Be So Terrible, Thanks to This Breakthrough Screening Technology," 30 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The waves of women came in the form of a flood, with brave individuals sharing similar stories and igniting a conversation that was rarely had. Ciarra Lorren Zatorski, Vogue, "Anita Hill, Nadia Murad, Katy Perry, and More Received DVF Awards at Last Night’s Ceremony," 13 Apr. 2019 The reasons for putting so much emphasis on these individuals no doubt has much to do with making the picture more commercially viable by appealing to Western audiences. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘Hotel Mumbai’ review: a horrifying tale of 2008 terrorist attack," 26 Mar. 2019 The large number of fraudulent comments helped obscure the fact that about 98.5 percent of unique comments written by individuals were opposed to Pai's repeal. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Report: FBI opens criminal investigation into net neutrality comment fraud," 10 Dec. 2018 Facebook has removed 200 accounts, groups and pages linked to a communications consultant who managed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s social-media campaign, saying individuals behind the activity used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves. Ben Otto, WSJ, "Facebook Removes Accounts Linked to Duterte’s Former Social-Media Manager," 29 Mar. 2019 What's more, the majority of stories about LGBTQ+ people center on gay or lesbian characters, while bisexual individuals can feel left out of the conversation. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "On Abby’s, Natalie Morales Plays a Bar Owner Who Just Happens to Be Bisexual—and That’s the Point," 28 Mar. 2019 In some individuals, IgE mistakenly attacks foreign substances that are actually harmless, such as foods, pollen, and animal dander. Shelby Deering, Good Housekeeping, "Skipping Spring Cleaning Can Make Allergies and Asthma Much Worse, According to Doctors," 22 Mar. 2019 The trades are one of the most noble career choices that any individual can make. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "How to Become a Skilled Tradesperson," 13 Mar. 2019 As a now 28-year-old woman, I am empowered by individuals like Selma Blair who believe fashion to be a form of self-expression, who can embrace their changing identities with grace and inspire self-acceptance. Ariel Henley, Allure, "How Fashion Lets Me Embrace the Physical Differences Caused by Crouzon Syndrome," 12 Mar. 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

19 Apr 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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