An individual is that which exists as a distinct entity. Individuality (or self-hood) is the state or quality of being an individual; particularly of being a person separate from other people and possessing their own needs or goals, rights and responsibilities. The exact definition of an individual is important in the fields of biology, law, and philosophy.
From the 15th century and earlier (and also today within the fields of statistics and metaphysics) individual meant “indivisible”, typically describing any numerically singular thing, but sometimes meaning “a person”. From the 17th century on, individual indicates separateness, as in individualism.Although individuality and individualism are commonly considered to mature with age/time and experience/wealth, a sane adult human being is usually considered by the state as an “individual person” in law, even if the person denies individual culpability (“I followed instructions”). An individual person is accountable for their actions/decisions/instructions, subject to prosecution in both national and international law, from the time that they have reached age of majority, often though not always more or less coinciding with the granting of voting rights, tax and military duties/ individual right to bear arms (protected only under certain constitutions). In line with hierarchy, ultimate individual human reward for success and responsibility for failure is nonetheless found at the top of human society
In metaphysics, particulars are defined as concrete, spatiotemporal entities as opposed to abstract entities, such as properties or numbers. There are, however, theories of abstract particulars or tropes. For example, Socrates is a particular (there’s only one Socrates-the-teacher-of-Plato and one cannot make copies of him, e.g., by cloning him, without introducing new, distinct particulars). Redness, by contrast, is not a particular, because it is abstract and multiply instantiated (for example a bicycle, an apple, and a given woman’s hair can all be red).
A person considered alone, rather than as belonging to a group of people.
“He is an unusual individual.”
A single physical human being as a legal subject, as opposed to a legal person such as a corporation.
An object, be it a thing or an agent, as contrasted to a class.
An element belonging to a population.
Relating to a single person or thing as opposed to more than one.
“As we can’t print them all together, the individual pages will have to be printed one by one.”
Intended for a single person as opposed to more than one person.
“individual personal pension; individual cream cakes”
Not divisible without losing its identity.
Pertaining only to a part of something; partial.
Specific; discrete; concrete.
“I couldn’t find the particular model you asked for, but I hope this one will do.”
“We knew it was named after John Smith, but nobody knows which particular John Smith.”
Specialised; characteristic of a specific person or thing.
“I don’t appreciate your particular brand of cynicism.”
Known only to an individual person or group; confidential.
Distinguished in some way; special (often in negative constructions).
“My five favorite places are, in no particular order, New York, Chicago, Paris, San Francisco and London.”
“I didn’t have any particular interest in the book.”
“He brought no particular news.”
“She was the particular belle of the party.”
Of a person, concerned with, or attentive to, details; minute; precise; fastidious.
“He is very particular about his food and if it isn’t cooked to perfection he will send it back.”
“Women are more particular about their appearance.”
Concerned with, or attentive to, details; minute; circumstantial; precise.
“a full and particular account of an accident”
Containing a part only; limited.
“a particular estate, or one precedent to an estate in remainder”
Holding a particular estate.
“a particular tenant”
Forming a part of a genus; relatively limited in extension; affirmed or denied of a part of a subject.
“a particular proposition, opposed to “universal”, e.g. (particular affirmative) “Some men are wise”; (particular negative) “Some men are not wise”.”
A small individual part of something larger; a detail, a point. from 15th c.
A person’s own individual case. 16th-19th c.
A particular case; an individual thing as opposed to a whole class. (Opposed to generals, universals.) from 17th c.
“individual tiny flowers”
of or for a particular person
“the individual needs of the children”
designed for use by one person
“a casserole served in individual portions”
characteristic of a particular person or thing
“she was surprised at how individual the others’ bodies were”
having a striking or unusual character; original
“she creates her own, highly individual landscapes”
a single human being as distinct from a group
“boat trips for parties and individuals”
a single member of a class
“they live in a group or as individuals, depending on the species”
a person of a specified kind
“the most selfish, egotistical individual I have ever met”
a distinctive or original person.
used to single out an individual member of a specified group or class
“the action seems to discriminate against a particular group of companies”
denoting a proposition in which something is asserted of some but not all of a class.
especially great or intense
“when handling or checking cash the cashier should exercise particular care”
insisting that something should be correct or suitable in every detail; fastidious
“she is very particular about cleanliness”
“he is wrong in every particular”
detailed information about someone or something
“a clerk took the woman’s particulars”
an individual item, as contrasted with a universal quality
“universals can be simultaneously exemplified by different particulars in different places”