Definition of individual in English:


Syllabification: in·di·vid·u·al
Pronunciation: /ˌindəˈvijəwəl


  • 1 [attributive] Single; separate: individual tiny flowers
    More example sentences
    • There are so many wonderful performances here, it would be pointless to single out individual cast members for praise.
    • The cast is really rather too large to single any one member out for individual comment.
    • Separate individual competitions for men and women are scheduled and they will be divided into junior and senior groups.
    single, separate, discrete, independent, solo; sole, lone, solitary, isolated
  • 2Of or for a particular person: the individual needs of the children
    More example sentences
    • We have different activities and approaches and we try and make individual care plans for each person.
    • Research has shown that people reduce their use of health care after individual psychotherapy.
    • They want each patient to be given an individual care plan tailored to their needs following rapid access to an expert diagnosis and assessment.
  • 2.1Designed for use by one person: individual serving dishes
    More example sentences
    • Its serving order and individual portions is Western and the use of the chopsticks is Oriental.
    • You can make it in individual serving dishes for a special dessert or one big pan for everyone to dive into.
    • The mainstay of our order was nigiri sushi (fish on individual portions of sushi rice).
  • 2.2Characteristic of a particular person or thing: individual traits of style
    More example sentences
    • This didactic function tended to diminish many characteristics of individual style.
    • There are at least six different forms of lightning, each with their own individual characteristics and colours.
    • However, all models will have their own individual body styles and dynamic characteristics.
    characteristic, distinctive, distinct, typical, particular, peculiar, personal, personalized, special; original, unique, exclusive, singular, idiosyncratic, different, unusual, novel, unorthodox, atypical, out of the ordinary, one of a kind
  • 2.3Having a striking or unusual character; original: she creates her own, highly individual, landscapes
    More example sentences
    • It's a great showcase of local talent and the perfect place to pick up an unusual and individual Christmas gift.
    • York was once renowned for its individual shops selling unusual merchandise, that is what the visitors expect.
    • I prefer things that are individual with a really interesting design aesthetic.


Back to top  
  • 1A single human being as distinct from a group, class, or family: boat trips for parties and individuals
    More example sentences
    • You can be yourself, and the basis of unity is that you are a human being and an individual.
    • Of course all references to groups are ultimately references to distinct individuals.
    • When you look deeply inside you will find that we are all individuals and human beings.
  • 1.1A single member of a class: they live in a group or as individuals, depending on the species
    More example sentences
    • Most of the whales in the area during the hunt were large single individuals.
    • With simple viability selection and random mating, the selection group is a single individual.
    • Plants often fertilize themselves to at least some extent, so polyploid species can arise from a single individual.
  • 1.2 [with adjective] informal A person of a specified kind: the most selfish, egotistical individual I have ever met
    More example sentences
    • I've come to the conclusion that I am a selfish heartless individual.
    • Bad manners are the outward sign of a seriously selfish individual.
    • No right-thinking individual can ever be persuaded that hatred and hostility is an answer to anything.
    person, human being, mortal, soul, creature; man, boy, woman, girl; character, personage
    informal type, sort, customer, guy


late Middle English (in the sense 'indivisible'): from medieval Latin individualis, from Latin individuus, from in- 'not' + dividuus 'divisible' (from dividere 'to divide').

More definitions of individual

Definition of individual in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day maelstrom
Pronunciation: ˈmālˌsträm
a powerful whirlpool in the sea