- individual (adj.)
- early 15c., "one and indivisible" (with reference to the Trinity), from Medieval Latin individualis, from Latin individuus "indivisible," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + dividuus "divisible," from dividere "divide" (see divide). Not common before c.1600 and the 15c. usage might be isolated. Sense of "single, separate" is 1610s; meaning "intended for one person" is from 1889.
- individual (n.)
- "single object or thing," c.1600, from individual (adj.). Colloquial sense of "person" is attested from 1742.
A majority can never replace the individual. ... Just as a hundred fools do not make one wise man, a heroic decision is not likely to come from a hundred cowards. [Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf," 1933]
Latin individuum meant "an atom, indivisible particle;" in Middle English individuum was used in sense of "individual member of a species" from early 15c.