in·​di·​vid·​u·​al | \ ˌin-də-ˈvij-wəl, -ˈvi-jə-wəl How to pronounce individual (audio) , -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



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


individually adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for individual


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 Right now the Buckeyes’ defensive staff either has opted for a more all-hands approach or does not see that individual presence emerging in practice or on film. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 12 Sep. 2021 In that spirit, USA TODAY Sports' panel of NFL experts weighed in with their predictions for team and individual success in 2021. USA TODAY, 12 Sep. 2021 Lesser amounts may be awarded based on individual need. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Sep. 2021 Then, there’s the varied situations and responses to the pandemic by individual workers that everyone is having to confront. Kevin Delaney, Time, 12 Sep. 2021 But perhaps the biggest disappointment Saturday came from three drivers who’ve dealt with recent engine issues, and who will have to deal with individual six-spot grid penalties for Sundays’ race. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Sep. 2021 And to be fair, many, if not most, individual employees probably want to do the right thing. Ron Carucci, Forbes, 12 Sep. 2021 In addition to being the overall nominations leader, Strait is also the leader in several individual categories, including male vocalist of the year (25 nods), entertainer of the year (19), album of the year (19) and single of the year (nine). Paul Grein, Billboard, 11 Sep. 2021 When the dust settled, we were left with a deep wound to our individual and collective hearts and psyche. Alice Yin,, 11 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But his legacy as an individual — seen in the sentiments of his former teammates on social media in the wake of his death — will be what resonates for years to come., 5 Sep. 2021 Troutman qualified for the event as an individual, but his Christian Academy squad didn’t make it. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, 26 Aug. 2021 And a single insurer can have a half-dozen different prices within the same facility, based on which plan was chosen at open enrollment, and whether it was bought as an individual or through work. New York Times, 22 Aug. 2021 Ott also won the Wisconsin State Amateur championship in 2018 and helped Marquette High School claim the 2017 WIAA Division 1 state title while finishing runner-up as an individual. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 18 Aug. 2021 As a sophomore, Kormuth qualified for state as an individual. cleveland, 12 Aug. 2021 Madden also swam as an individual in the 400-meter freestyle on July 25, finishing seventh. Creg Stephenson |, al, 7 Aug. 2021 Mykayla Skinner, who — like Carey — was competing as an individual, took the silver medal in vault. Lindsay Kimble,, 3 Aug. 2021 Skinner was selected to the Olympics as an individual after placing fifth at the Olympic Trials. The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Aug. 2021

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for individual


Medieval Latin individualis, from Latin individuus indivisible, from in- + dividuus divided, from dividere to divide

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Time Traveler for individual

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near individual



individual bond

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Statistics for individual

Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Individual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for individual



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



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


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



Kids Definition of individual (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a single member of a group
2 : a single human being

More from Merriam-Webster on individual

Nglish: Translation of individual for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of individual for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about individual


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