Definition of individual in English:


Line breaks: in¦di|vid¦ual
Pronunciation: /ɪndɪˈvɪdjʊ(ə)l


1 [attributive] Single; separate: individual tiny flowers
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  • 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;
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: a casserole served in individual portions
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  • 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: she was surprised at how individual the others' bodies were
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.
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.
original, unique, exclusive, singular, idiosyncratic, different, unusual, off-centre, novel, unorthodox, atypical, out of the ordinary


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1A single human being as distinct from a group: 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.
man, gentleman, boy, woman, lady, girl;
informal character, type, sort, beggar, cookie, customer, guy, devil, bunny, bastard
British informal bod, geezer, gent, punter
informal , dated body, dog
British informal , dated cove
British vulgar slang sod, bugger
archaic wight
1.3A distinctive or original person.
individualist, free spirit, nonconformist, original, eccentric, character, bohemian, maverick, rare bird, rarity;
Latinrara avis
British informal one-off, oner


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

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