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

But individual countries still largely control the rules around how much firms need to disclose about top management’s salaries. Kosaku Narioka, WSJ, "Ghosn’s Arrest Exposes Culture Gap When It Comes to Executive Pay," 23 Nov. 2018 China has passed legislation forcing game makers to publish the probability of individual items appearing in loot boxes, while Japan has cracked down on certain forms of prize draws in games. James Vincent, The Verge, "Loot box crackdown forces Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts games out of Belgium," 23 Nov. 2018 Between 2001 and 2009, Medicare payments for individual sleep studies almost quadrupled to $235 million. Marshall Allen, Ars Technica, "You snooze, you lose: Insurers make the old adage literally true," 21 Nov. 2018 Even on an individual level, hurricanes receive more media play than wildfires. Rani Molla, Recode, "Recent East Coast hurricanes have gotten more media coverage than California wildfires," 21 Nov. 2018 Their individual cells will have transporters that prevent toxins from being absorbed. Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018 Pro tip: Order blended spices—not the individual kind—from a boutique shop like Savory Spice. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The ultimate van life shopping guide," 14 Nov. 2018 The Duke has also forged strong individual connections with each of his children's children. Marcia Moody, Town & Country, "What Prince Philip Is Really Like as a Grandfather to Prince William, Prince Harry, and Other Young Members of the Royal Family," 4 Oct. 2018 Members of the appropriations committee are a special breed, tailoring spending to individual projects and federal departments. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Trump, GOP plan to rescind budget spending has precedent but rocky path in Congress," 2 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The goal was to encourage investors, individuals and companies to shift their cash from bank deposits and government bonds to riskier investments. Greg Ip, WSJ, "Amidst Roaring Economy, Troubled Markets Sound Alarms," 20 Nov. 2018 Mexico has offered refuge, asylum or work visas, and its government said Monday that 2,697 temporary visas had been issued to individuals and families to cover them during the 45-day application process for more permanent status. Maria Verza, The Seattle Times, "US hardens border at Tijuana to prepare for migrant caravan," 13 Nov. 2018 The cohort of incoming congresswomen includes elects who have made history as individuals. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Here's How Many Women Will Head to Congress in January," 7 Nov. 2018 Recent Supreme Court cases like Citizens United allow wealthy individuals and corporations to funnel unlimited spending into Super PACs. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "Seattle’s radical plan to fight big money in politics," 5 Nov. 2018 Wealthy individuals are frequently advised by their accountants to do this to avoid the (quite low) inheritance tax. E.j. Roller, Vox, "We need to talk about how family money can make or break an arts career," 12 Nov. 2018 The recent concerns over Georgia's voter registration system are just the latest episode in which Georgia officials have pursued individuals for pointing out security issues with election systems. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "The ugly truth about voting security: States won’t fix it," 6 Nov. 2018 In Massachusetts, a proposal on the ballot seeks to repeal a law that protects transgender individuals. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Midterm Elections Are Almost Here—What You Need to Know Now," 5 Nov. 2018 Unlike most programs, which aim only to manage PTSD symptoms, Boulder Crest acknowledges that trauma fundamentally changes individuals; there is no returning to normal. Jim Rendon, Marie Claire, "When Female Veterans Return Home," 29 Oct. 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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Statistics for individual

Last Updated

29 Nov 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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