from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of or relating to an individual, especially a single human: individual consciousness.
  • adj. By or for one person: individual work; an individual portion.
  • adj. Existing as a distinct entity; separate: individual drops of rain.
  • adj. Marked by or expressing individuality; distinctive or individualistic: an individual way of dressing.
  • adj. Special; particular: Each variety of melon has its individual flavor and texture.
  • adj. Serving to identify or set apart: "There was nothing individual about him except a deep scar ... across his right cheek” ( Rebecca West).
  • n. A single human considered apart from a society or community: the rights of the individual.
  • n. A human regarded as a unique personality: always treated her clients as individuals.
  • n. A person distinguished from others by a special quality.
  • n. Usage Problem A person.
  • n. A single animal or plant as distinguished from a species, community, or group.
  • n. A member of a collection or set; a specimen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person considered alone, rather than as belonging to a group of people.
  • n. A single physical human being as a legal subject, as opposed to a legal person such as a corporation.
  • n. An object, be it a thing or an agent, as contrasted to a class.
  • adj. Relating to a single person or thing as opposed to more than one.
  • adj. Intended for a single person as opposed to more than one person.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not divided, or not to be divided; existing as one entity, or distinct being or object; single; one.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to one only; peculiar to, or characteristic of, a single person or thing; distinctive
  • n. A single person, animal, or thing of any kind; a thing or being incapable of separation or division, without losing its identity; especially, a human being; a person.
  • n.
  • n. An independent, or partially independent, zooid of a compound animal.
  • n. The product of a single egg, whether it remains a single animal or becomes compound by budding or fission.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Indivisible; inseparable.
  • Not susceptible of logical subdivision; determinate in every respect; having a continuity of existence in all its changes; not divisible without loss of identity.
  • Of but one person or thing; pertaining or peculiar to, or characteristic of, a single person or thing, or each separate person or thing: opposed to collective: as, individual character; individual labor or effort; individual action.
  • Serving or intended for the use of one person only: as, an individual salt-cellar.
  • Of which each is different or of a different design from the others: as, a set of individual coffee-cups (that is, a harlequin set).
  • n. A single thing; a being, animate or inanimate, that is or is regarded as a unit.
  • n. That which is not susceptible of logical subdivision, but is completely determinate, so that only one of a pair of contradictory attributes can be possessed by it.
  • n. A thing which by being in only one place at one time, or otherwise, has a continuity of existence in time.
  • n. Especially, a human being; a person.
  • n. In biology, any organism or part of an organized whole regarded as having (actually or in certain relations) an independent existence. The word is often applied specifically to one of a group or colony of organisms to distinguish it from the colony or group. Thus, many botanists regard each bud as a true individual, the whole plant or tree constituting a colony or compound organism.
  • n. A person merely; a man.
  • n. In biology: A living being considered as unique or different from its kind and from the rest of nature, without reference to its morphological or physiological independence or dependence. It is in this sense that an organism is termed an individual with reference to reproduction and inheritance.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a human being
  • adj. concerning one person exclusively
  • adj. characteristic of or meant for a single person or thing
  • adj. being or characteristic of a single thing or person
  • adj. separate and distinct from others of the same kind
  • n. a single organism


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, single, indivisible, from Old French, from Medieval Latin indīviduālis, from Latin indīviduus : in-, not; see in-1 + dīviduus, divisible (from dīvidere, to divide).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Medieval Latin individualis, from Latin individuum ("an indivisible thing"), neuter of individuus ("indivisible, undivided"), from in + dividuus ("divisible"), from divido ("divide").



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • 'Individual' has a deictic character. It is ultimately indivisible. Cicero translated the Greek a-tomos as in-dividuum in Latin - Ivan Illich

    October 3, 2011

  • ... vs. collective

    March 29, 2009

  • indiviDUAL

    August 8, 2008