[ 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 confused

individual 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 Forms

individually, 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