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

Independent, individual, strong, empowered, intelligent. Minna Shim, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Jewelry Designer You Need to Know," 1 Feb. 2019 The surge in popularity for index funds is a product of their lower fees, better performance and the preaching of John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard Group, which launched the first index mutual fund for individual investors in 1976. Stan Choe, The Seattle Times, "40 years after his “folly,” Bogle’s index funds reign," 23 Jan. 2019 No trip to brain Disneyland On an individual level, the ramifications of being blocked from attending a huge international meeting like this are substantial. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "US travel ban blocking students from presenting their research," 14 Nov. 2018 Not only are the building’s public areas furnished by Minotti, but also the individual residences—right down to Minotti Cucine kitchens and free interior design services for residents. Samantha Swenson, ELLE Decor, "Just Outside Miami, New Development 2000 Ocean Is Redefining Luxury, One Minotti Furnishing at a Time," 18 Jan. 2019 On the mild end, an individual might develop an itchy mouth or hives; on the severe end is anaphylaxis, a condition in which the airways swell and the heartbeat slows. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Some Rx Bars Have Been Recalled Due to an Undeclared Allergen," 16 Jan. 2019 Take-Two, which also makes the Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption series, doesn’t disclose revenue for individual games. Sarah E. Needleman, WSJ, "NBA Inks Billion-Dollar Deal With Maker of 2K Videogame," 15 Jan. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The plan includes 85 studio apartments for formerly homeless seniors, 100 rentals for individuals and families and 52 row houses and town houses for sale. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "After long delays, Seattle mayor will advance $90 million plan for low-income housing at Fort Lawton," 4 Feb. 2019 The temperatures, which reached -30 degrees Fahrenheit, have prompted individuals and organizations to take some extreme measures to fight the cold. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "It's So Cold in Chicago That the Rail Company Is Lighting Its Tracks on Fire," 30 Jan. 2019 The law also lowered tax rates for individuals and closely held businesses. Richard Rubin, WSJ, "Expecting a Big Tax Refund? Don’t Be So Sure," 27 Jan. 2019 The Met says a match via the software will prompt officers to examine the individual and decide whether or not to stop them. James Vincent, The Verge, "UK police are testing facial recognition on Christmas shoppers in London this week," 18 Dec. 2018 The effort, involving individuals and businesses that run websites, will consist of social media posts, banner ads, and website alerts. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Congress has refused to restore net neutrality as Dec. 10 deadline nears," 28 Nov. 2018 On the right, critics accuse it of sucking the dynamism from capitalism and individuals alike. The Economist, "The welfare state needs updating," 12 July 2018 According to Aidala, in today’s climate, whether an allegation is true or false, accused individuals are more inclined to settle. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "How Much Does It Cost to Keep Your Name Out of the News?," 18 Jan. 2019 Her comments condone victim blaming and perpetuate the rape culture in our schools and society that are dangerous to all individuals. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Trump Judicial Nominee Neomi Rao's Thoughts on Rape Are Sparking Major Controversy," 14 Jan. 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

8 Feb 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 \

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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