Person vs. Individual

Difference Between Person and Individual

It is quite common for people to call a person as an individual and an individual as a person. The two words are often made use of  in place of one anther as if they are synonyms and are found to be used interchangeably. But these terms are not the same. Is it that these convey the same meaning, or some differences do exist between the terms ‘an individual’ and ‘a person’ to justify the existence of these two different terms? We will know through this article.

The person is derived from persona which is Greek word for the mask of an actor. In the olden days one actor had to play more than a single character and different roles, he just used a mask and the concept of persona grew from here. It was the word persona that gave birth to the nouns ‘personality’ and ‘person’ in English. The concept of person is even more primitive than those of mind and body. A person is an entity who has an ability to think and work and not his mind or his body respectively. Again, a person is a living entity. Any person who goes into the shelter of death is regarded as a ‘dead person’, but the important point to note here is the addition of the term ‘dead’ before the noun ‘person’. A person is not an island that survives alone instead he is a social being and lives and remains in touch with other people. He has feelings which he shares with others.

This is where the concept of individual enters. The society that consists of innumerable people, has many individuals who have particular, unique and distinct characteristics that are specific to them only. A crowd consists of individuals but each individual is a person as well. The term ‘Individual’ is used to refer to the specific characteristic features that are unique to a particular person. Any person who is a neighbor of a famous personality or rather a celebrity often uses this word ‘individual’ for describing him as a person.


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