An individual is a person or a specific object. Individuality (or selfhood) is the state or quality of being an individual; a person separate from other persons and possessing his or her own needs or goals.
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." (q.v. "The problem of proper names"). From the seventeenth century on, individual indicates separateness, as in individualism.
Famous quotes containing the word individual:
“It is the individual only who is timeless. Societies, cultures, and civilizationspast and presentare often incomprehensible to outsiders, but the individuals hungers, anxieties, dreams, and preoccupations have remained unchanged through the millennia.”
—Eric Hoffer (19021983)
“The great problem of American life [is] the riddle of authority: the difficulty of finding a way, within a liberal and individualistic social order, of living in harmonious and consecrated submission to something larger than oneself.... A yearning for self-transcendence and submission to authority [is] as deeply rooted as the lure of individual liberation.”
—Wilfred M. McClay, educator, author. The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America, p. 4, University of North Carolina Press (1994)
“Every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the publick interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it.... He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”
—Adam Smith (17231790)