Definition of individual in English:


Pronunciation: /ɪndɪˈvɪdjʊ(ə)l//ɪndɪˈvɪdʒʊ(ə)l/


  • 1[attributive] Single; separate.

    ‘individual tiny flowers’
    • ‘Remove excess soil and separate individual bulbs, disturbing the roots as little as possible.’
    • ‘The cast is really rather too large to single any one member out for individual comment.’
    • ‘Most plants occurred as dense individual tufts separated by cracked soil.’
    • ‘The Marie Curie Actions offer numerous opportunities to individual researchers to participate in a research team in another country.’
    • ‘More or less curls can be created by separating the individual strands of hair into small or larger sections.’
    • ‘Parents in some parts of Britain have travelled abroad or paid privately for single vaccinations against the individual diseases.’
    • ‘Separate the bulbs into individual cloves and space them every 10 cm in rows 30 cm apart.’
    • ‘These eruptions are thought to rise first as vertical sheets of magma, before separating into individual pipes.’
    • ‘But why a separate outfit when individual companies already have quality departments?’
    • ‘Which means a favorite wouldn't be a single work but a range of work by individual artists.’
    • ‘The individual cells were tiny, bare closets with no amenities, and were designed to be too short to lie down in.’
    • ‘Our study was performed using single swab specimens from individual patients.’
    • ‘Separate individual competitions for men and women are scheduled and they will be divided into junior and senior groups.’
    • ‘The shoot and roots of individual plants were separated and weighed.’
    • ‘When it was just 25 separate chapters in individual word documents it didn't feel that substantial.’
    • ‘With longer projects it is also productive to work on individual scenes separately rather than the whole movie at once.’
    • ‘There are so many wonderful performances here, it would be pointless to single out individual cast members for praise.’
    • ‘For the chicory: poach in water with salt and lemon juice for three minutes, drain and separate into individual leaves.’
    • ‘It would be unfair to single out individual players as every man on the field gave 100 per cent effort.’
    single, separate, discrete, independent
    View synonyms
  • 2Of or for a particular person.

    ‘the individual needs of the children’
    • ‘The nurse to patient ratio is very high to allow for individual patient care.’
    • ‘They also received a number of individual donations from people.’
    • ‘We have different activities and approaches and we try and make individual care plans for each person.’
    • ‘The tale of the whale shows how every story today is seen through the prism of individual emotions.’
    • ‘Interesting that we now have numerous fonts designed to look like individual handwriting.’
    • ‘Research has shown that people reduce their use of health care after individual psychotherapy.’
    • ‘But in a family of 12 children there was not all that much time for her mother to give individual care to any one child.’
    • ‘They want each patient to be given an individual care plan tailored to their needs following rapid access to an expert diagnosis and assessment.’
    • ‘The major exception is farm-to-farm movements of sheep, which will remain subject to individual licences.’
    • ‘The most important thing was that I got individual care from the staff.’
    • ‘The group aims to build housing units to provide individual care for mentally disabled children in China.’
    • ‘Entrants should be aware that they may be subject to local call charges depending on their own individual arrangements for internet access.’
    • ‘Couples therapy can also be separate but integrated into individual therapies for depression.’
    • ‘It provided individual clinical and preventive care, combined with health promotion, to a defined community.’
    • ‘Finally, we do individual sessions to follow people through a full task, to make certain it's working the way they want it to.’
    • ‘An audit that involved a systematic search of all individual primary care records was performed at the end of the study period.’
    • ‘Two of those groups were single students who needed individual instruction.’
    • ‘Material received when consulting this Internet site is for individual use only.’
    • ‘Of course, the more valuable people perceive their individual cell phones to be, the less likely they may be to trade up for new ones.’
    • ‘The project is to be commended for promoting individual responsibility in health care.’
    1. 2.1Designed for use by one person.
      ‘a casserole served in individual portions’
      • ‘Serve the ingredients in individual dishes alongside each other.’
      • ‘So it makes sense to split the money into separate individual accounts.’
      • ‘Share the mussels into individual serving bowls and then ladle a generous amount of broth into each bowl.’
      • ‘Pour into large glass serving bowl or individual stemmed glasses.’
      • ‘However, the restaurant does individual Japanese dishes on the other nights of the week at reasonable prices too!’
      • ‘Everywhere we went butter and jams were served in those horrible individual portions.’
      • ‘You can make it in individual serving dishes for a special dessert or one big pan for everyone to dive into.’
      • ‘You can refrigerate the broth at this point and simply heat it up when you want to make an individual serving.’
      • ‘Soups were available in a can as well as individual portions in a box!’
      • ‘The individual dishes are not cheap but the portions are generous and good fresh ingredients are in evidence.’
      • ‘There was little variation, right down to the brand of the individual servings of jam.’
      • ‘Place the hens on the serving platter or individual plates and drizzle the sauce over them.’
      • ‘Arrange the egg pieces, the yolks of which should still be a little soft on top individual servings or on top of the bowl of salad.’
      • ‘Layer with the rose petal cream in a single bowl or in individual glasses.’
      • ‘When the incredibly fresh dish arrived, I deduced that it must be mashed on the fly in individual portions.’
      • ‘Whizz until the mixture is quite thick, then tip it into a shallow dish, or individual dishes.’
      • ‘The mainstay of our order was nigiri sushi (fish on individual portions of sushi rice).’
      • ‘Its serving order and individual portions is Western and the use of the chopsticks is Oriental.’
      • ‘Add a measure of your favourite liqueur and either pour into individual dishes or into a pre-cooked sweet pastry tart.’
      • ‘You can also make individual portions in small bowls, using mini-jaffa cakes.’
    2. 2.2Characteristic of a particular person or thing.
      ‘she was surprised at how individual the others' bodies were’
      • ‘Many bed and breakfasts have individual charm and character, often in the spirit of the locale.’
      • ‘There are, of course, personal motives and individual peculiarities involved in the latest incident.’
      • ‘The intense individual characterization he brought to his subjects was sometimes criticized as verging on caricature.’
      • ‘There are at least six different forms of lightning, each with their own individual characteristics and colours.’
      • ‘You make a mark with your individual style and performance in whatever you do today.’
      • ‘This didactic function tended to diminish many characteristics of individual style.’
      • ‘It's often followed by a purging of influences and the development of an individual style.’
      • ‘This way you could style pages by referencing individual styles from other sites.’
      • ‘Fresh and creative gold jewellery designs allow women to define their individual sense of fashion.’
      • ‘But they needed to adapt their individual styles to get the best from the workforce, he said.’
      • ‘However, all models will have their own individual body styles and dynamic characteristics.’
      • ‘By the same token, it is also good to take into account the individual character or personality of the student.’
      • ‘They were supported by strong singers and actors in other key roles, who brought their individual style and charm to the show.’
      • ‘There is an argument that says globalisation is ruining the individual character of different nations.’
      • ‘Linked closely to individual style, colour is perhaps the easiest and most personal expression of taste.’
      • ‘Rather their individual style and approach complements each other.’
      • ‘There are so many choices available to complement the individual style of your room.’
      • ‘However, it is as a novelist that he is most renowned particularly for his highly polished, individual style.’
      • ‘Later, when the screenplay makes a feeble attempt to give them individual traits, it's too late.’
      • ‘Each guest bedroom has an individual design; all are exquisite and huge fun.’
      characteristic, distinctive, distinct, typical, particular, peculiar, personal, personalized, special
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    3. 2.3Having a striking or unusual character; original.
      ‘she creates her own, highly individual landscapes’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Special thanks to all especially the younger models whose individual styles made it a night to remember.’
      • ‘The exhibition is testimony to the common themes that bind them and yet the unmistakeably individual genius and style of each.’
      • ‘People trying to be hip and striving to have an individual style to the point of absurdity, that they end up all looking the same.’
      • ‘I'm a fairly recent convert to his individual style of trip-hop, orchestral, landscape music.’
      • ‘I have invented a name for my own highly individual style of present wrapping.’
      • ‘Look out for his book, as his very individual writing style and story telling is brilliant.’
      • ‘It's a great showcase of local talent and the perfect place to pick up an unusual and individual Christmas gift.’
      • ‘Amy has an individual sense of style and glamour - and already looks great.’
      • ‘Their individual styles would necessarily mirror their political consciousness.’
      • ‘The reason he was chosen was that he has a very individual style.’
      original, unique, exclusive, singular, idiosyncratic, different, unusual, off-centre, novel, unorthodox, atypical, out of the ordinary
      View synonyms


  • 1A single human being as distinct from a group.

    ‘boat trips for parties and individuals’
    • ‘True partnership and community can only come about between distinct individuals.’
    • ‘His essential argument is that humans, as individuals, are inherently capitalist.’
    • ‘It is aimed primarily at corporate clients, though individuals can still use the service.’
    • ‘Of course all references to groups are ultimately references to distinct individuals.’
    • ‘He is not satisfied with anything less than total absorption and enjoyment, from every single individual present.’
    • ‘It is a basic issue of human rights that individuals can observe their religion.’
    • ‘To single out individuals for praise would be unfair as in my opinion they were all star quality.’
    • ‘There comes a time when you see them all as individuals rather than representing parties.’
    • ‘A song, by its very definition, implies a single individual giving voice to either emotion or narrative by means of melody.’
    • ‘Twins are genetic duplicates of each other, but no one would deny that each is a distinct human individual.’
    • ‘A free market frees individuals to make distinct choices and independent decisions.’
    • ‘It will not affect the ability of individuals to import single copies for private use.’
    • ‘But, at some point, each individual is still a human being and has to answer to his conscience.’
    • ‘Now we have a six-week period and there's going to be a lot pressure on bodies and individuals.’
    • ‘First, because people vote for parties rather than individuals, any personal vote is relatively small.’
    • ‘This example is extremely limited as I was speaking to a single individual.’
    • ‘When you look deeply inside you will find that we are all individuals and human beings.’
    • ‘I was brought up to respect all faiths and the human rights of individuals.’
    • ‘You can be yourself, and the basis of unity is that you are a human being and an individual.’
    • ‘Parties and individuals have until Tuesday to get their Westminster nominations in.’
    1. 1.1A single member of a class.
      ‘they live in a group or as individuals, depending on the species’
      • ‘Most of the whales in the area during the hunt were large single individuals.’
      • ‘And the general body texture from one individual to another within the same species can also be quite different.’
      • ‘Increase in mass in real time is shown for one individual of each species in Figure 2.’
      • ‘Plants often fertilize themselves to at least some extent, so polyploid species can arise from a single individual.’
      • ‘With simple viability selection and random mating, the selection group is a single individual.’
    2. 1.2informal [with adjective]A person of a specified kind.
      ‘the most selfish, egotistical individual I have ever met’
      • ‘I've come to the conclusion that I am a selfish heartless individual.’
      • ‘No decent, rational individual would ever choose war over peace, he added.’
      • ‘A very quiet individual, his gentlemanly manner endeared him to all who made his acquaintance.’
      • ‘No right-thinking individual can ever be persuaded that hatred and hostility is an answer to anything.’
      • ‘Bad manners are the outward sign of a seriously selfish individual.’
      person, human being, human, being, mortal, soul, creature, thing
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3A distinctive or original person.
      individualist, free spirit, nonconformist, original, eccentric, character, bohemian, maverick, rare bird, rarity
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘indivisible’): from medieval Latin individualis, from Latin individuus, from in- not + dividuus divisible (from dividere to divide).