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

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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

The Parkland shooting has prompted the state to enact new safety measures, including a mandate for individual schools to create threat teams similar to those urged by the Secret Service. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Secret Service urges U.S. schools to set up 'threat teams' to prevent shootings," 12 July 2018 His is an individual sport that demands intense focus, a zero-sum game where there is a winner and then everyone else. Brian Pinelli, New York Times, "In Pole Vault, Sam Kendricks Is a Team Player," 4 July 2018 In attempting to anticipate possible penalties from the Committee on Infractions, individual schools commonly lean on the same sanctions and phrases outlined in the NCAA Manual. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Former University of Louisville players serving four-year ban," 28 June 2018 So far, Wisconsin has awarded nearly $6 million to 53 school districts and individual schools for security upgrades and funding is still available. Ivan Moreno, The Christian Science Monitor, "Wisconsin schools to roll out gunshot detection sensors," 26 June 2018 The legislation, which reduced individual and corporate tax rates, was enacted in December and mostly took effect Jan. 1. Richard Rubin, WSJ, "U.S. Government Revenues Drop in Wake of Tax Cuts," 12 July 2018 The competition included individual, pairs and group entries in speed, power and freestyle events with single rope and Double Dutch. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Katy jumpers excel in competition," 10 July 2018 New Yorkers have become increasingly reliant on the emergency food program, which was originally intended to subsidize an individual or family’s monthly food supply when it was created by the city in 1984. New York Times, "New York’s Emergency Food Program Gets More Funding, but Will It Be Enough?," 8 July 2018 Lopez Obrador said individual and property rights would be guaranteed, promised respect for the autonomy of the Bank of Mexico and said his government will maintain financial and fiscal discipline. Time, "Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Claims Historic Win in Mexico Elections," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In announcing the new charges Friday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stressed that the indictment did not include any allegations that the Russians were assisted by Americans in their efforts to hack Democratic groups and individuals. Rosalind S. Helderman And Manuel Roig-franzia, chicagotribune.com, "Charges against Russian officers intensify spotlight on Trump adviser Stone," 13 July 2018 Turtles will be sold upon request to schools, organizations, businesses and individuals at a cost to be determined, split between the manufacturer and the society’s endowment fund. David Ibata, ajc, "Painted turtles return to Sandy Springs," 7 July 2018 After a quick scan of the neighborhood, the officer was able to make contact with the individual matching the description walking around. Madeleine Marr, miamiherald, "He was chasing a woman around with a golf club. The fun started when the cops arrived," 6 July 2018 The host is gracious and welcoming, and the second individual is immediately relieved. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "How to Tap Into Your Own Psychic Abilities," 2 July 2018 Put simply, the West’s aridity required that overall public interest trump that of the individual. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018 The two-act Paper Giants addressed themes such as fear, oppression, hatred, and selfishness in both individuals and society. Danny Atkinson, Courant Community, "Epoch Arts Opens Summer Season," 2 July 2018 The two individuals were said to suffer similar neurological symptoms that others from the US diplomatic community stationed in Havana had experienced. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Brain injury, sound-attack fears spread in China as more Americans evacuated," 2 July 2018 Such perceptions are consistent with the popular image of the firefighter as a daring individual who is willing to risk life and limb to save the life of a total stranger and who is lauded for doing so. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "Fire departments fight a culture that saves — and costs — lives," 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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Phrases Related to individual

matter of (individual) conscience

Statistics for individual

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

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 \

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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