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:
“The Declaration [of Independence] was not a protest against government, but against the excess of government. It prescribed the proper role of government, to secure the rights of individuals and to effect their safety and happiness. In modern society, no individual can do this alone. So government is not a necessary evil but a necessary good.”
—Gerald R. Ford (b. 1913)
“What is wantedwhether this is admitted or notis nothing less than a fundamental remolding, indeed weakening and abolition of the individual: one never tires of enumerating and indicting all that is evil and inimical, prodigal, costly, extravagant in the form individual existence has assumed hitherto, one hopes to manage more cheaply, more safely, more equitably, more uniformly if there exist only large bodies and their members.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900)
“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)