a. Of or relating to an individual, especially a single human: individual consciousness.
b. By or for one person: individual work; an individual portion.
2. Existing as a distinct entity; separate: individual drops of rain.
a. Marked by or expressing individuality; distinctive or individualistic: an individual way of dressing.
b. Special; particular: Each variety of melon has its individual flavor and texture.
c. Serving to identify or set apart: "There was nothing individual about him except a deep scar ... across his right cheek" (Rebecca West).
a. A single human considered apart from a society or community: the rights of the individual.
b. A human regarded as a distinctive or unique personality: always treated her clients as individuals; felt he was quite an individual.
2. A single organism as distinguished from a species, community, or group.
3. A member of a collection or set; a specimen.
[Middle English, single, indivisible, from Old French, from Medieval Latin indīviduālis, from Latin indīviduus : in-, not; see IN-1 + dīviduus, divisible (from dīvidere, to divide).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.