Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of or relating to an individual, especially a single human.
  • adjective By or for one person.
  • adjective Existing as a distinct entity; separate.
  • adjective Marked by or expressing individuality; distinctive or individualistic.
  • adjective Special; particular.
  • adjective Serving to identify or set apart.
  • noun A single human considered apart from a society or community.
  • noun A human regarded as a distinctive or unique personality.
  • noun A single organism as distinguished from a species, community, or group.
  • noun A member of a collection or set; a specimen.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • 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).
  • noun A single thing; a being, animate or inanimate, that is or is regarded as a unit.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A thing which by being in only one place at one time, or otherwise, has a continuity of existence in time.
  • noun Especially, a human being; a person.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A person merely; a man.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun 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.
  • noun An independent, or partially independent, zooid of a compound animal.
  • noun The product of a single egg, whether it remains a single animal or becomes compound by budding or fission.
  • adjective Not divided, or not to be divided; existing as one entity, or distinct being or object; single; one.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to one only; peculiar to, or characteristic of, a single person or thing; distinctive

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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– + 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").

Examples

  • If they are parts of an individual, plants also are subject to considerable changes during their _individual_ lives.

    The Foundations of the Origin of Species Two Essays written in 1842 and 1844

  • 'Although there exists nothing IN NATURE except individual bodies, exhibiting distinct individual _effects, according to individual_

    The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakspere Unfolded

  • But because the will has here become individual it must be deceived in such a manner for it to discern by the sense of the _individual_ what the sense of the species has presented to it; in other words, imagine it is pursuing ends concerning the individual, when in reality it is pursuing merely general ends (using the word general in its strictest sense).

    Essays of Schopenhauer

  • There are individual cases in which I’ve agreed with the “Catholic League”: When *individual* Catholics who are no longer around to defend themselves are slandered; or when tax-money is used for bigotted “artisitc” purposes.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Demands That Facebook Shut Down “Fuck Islam” Group:

  • It seems this individual is attempting to stop some one, me from taking an active part in bringing this missing home!

    Heroes or Villains?

  • Those of us within the Elders of Sodom see a cross and it may not trouble us, we may even prefer to assume the individual is actually wholly tolerant, but this is despite it being a symbol which says to us, “I disapprove of your sexuality; I subscribe to a belief system which condemns your actions as mortal sins.”

    An Open Letter to the Usual Suspects

  • Individual Responsibility: Inherent in the ideas of John Locke in the concept that the individual is the government.

    duh pookie

  • In any of these circumstances, if the officer develops reasonable suspicion that the individual is an illegal alien, the obligation that Kobach discusses kicks in.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Kobach on Arizona’s Immigration Law

  • Individual Responsibility: Inherent in the ideas of John Locke in the concept that the individual is the government.

    duh pookie

  • Those of us within the Elders of Sodom see a cross and it may not trouble us, we may even prefer to assume the individual is actually wholly tolerant, but this is despite it being a symbol which says to us, “I disapprove of your sexuality; I subscribe to a belief system which condemns your actions as mortal sins.”

    Archive 2010-03-01

Comments

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  • indiviDUAL

    August 8, 2008

  • ... vs. collective

    March 29, 2009

  • '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