[ in-duh-vij-oo-uh l ]
/ ˌɪn dəˈvɪdʒ u əl /



Origin of individual

1375–1425; late Middle English < Medieval Latin indīviduālis, equivalent to Latin indīvidu(us) indivisible (in- in-3 + dīvid(ere) to divide + -uus deverbal adj. suffix) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
Can be confusedindividual party person (see usage note at the current entry) (see synonym study at person)

Synonym study

2. See person.

Usage note

1, 2. As a synonym for person, individual is standard, occurring in all varieties of speech and writing: Three individuals entered the room, each carrying a sheaf of papers. Some object to this use, insisting that individual can mean only “a single human being, as distinguished from a group”: An individual may have concerns that are ignored by his or her party. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for individual

British Dictionary definitions for individual


/ (ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəl) /


of, relating to, characteristic of, or meant for a single person or thing
separate or distinct, esp from others of its kind; particularplease mark the individual pages
characterized by unusual and striking qualities; distinctive
obsolete indivisible; inseparable


Derived Formsindividually, adverb

Word Origin for individual

C15: from Medieval Latin indīviduālis, from Latin indīviduus indivisible, from in- 1 + dīviduus divisible, from dīvidere to divide
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012