An Entry from the Oxford English Dictionary on the Word "Individual"

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An Entry from the Oxford English Dictionary on the Word "Individual"


An entry from the Oxford English Dictionary defining "individual" as referring to a person giving examples of historical use.


"individual, adj. and n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, December 2019, Accessed 13 February 2020.


Oxford English Dictionary


Abigail Blackmon






Dictionary entry

Text Item Type Metadata


Of, relating to, or characteristic of a single person, organism, or thing, or one particular member of a class or group.
1570 J. Dee in H. Billingsley tr. Euclid Elements Geom. Math. Præf. sig. b.iiiv The Nature, propre to the Indiuiduall Matrix, of the thing produced.
1605 F. Bacon Of Aduancem. Learning i. sig. D2v As touching the Manners of learned men, it is a thing personall and indiuiduall .
1646 Sir T. Browne Pseudodoxia Epidemica 10 Their individuall imperfections being great, they are moreover enlarged by their aggregation.
1707 S. Clarke Defense Argum. 17 The sole Reason urged..why a System of Matter cannot have a Power of Thinking or an Individual Consciousness.
1777 E. Burke Addr. to King Jan. in Writings & Speeches (1996) III. 395 We..several of the Peers of the Realm, and several Members of the House of in our individual capacity,..beg leave [etc.].
1859 J. S. Mill On Liberty i. 14 There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence.
1862 J. Ruskin Unto this Last iv. 168 All effectual advancement..must be by individual, not public effort.
1900 R. M. Alden Art of Deb. vi. 110 When an authority is quoted..he [sc. the debater] may appeal from the alleged authority to the individual conscience.
1908 C. L. Morgan Animal Behaviour (ed. 2) vi. 282 Individual behaviour, in its first intent, is a biological legacy with ends predetermined through heredity.
1964 Proc. National Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 51 606 A biochemical focus which considers the importance of individual differences within the normal range.
2010 N. Piacente in R. Bellelli Internat. Criminal Justice xi. 257 The concept of collective liability is increasingly yielding to the notion of individual responsibility in international humanitarian law.



“An Entry from the Oxford English Dictionary on the Word "Individual",” Enlightenmens, accessed September 29, 2022,

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