I am wondering what is difference between these two words. My dictionary says that they both stands for the same thing. Is that true? I do not think so. Please can you explain me usage of both of these words? Thank you a lot.

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  • 1
    There are lots of differences according to context. In computing, for example, a standalone process probably means one which has its own execution thread running directly under the operating system rather than being a "slave" process within some other app (and you probably wouldn't call that an "individual process"). Or consider the individual responsible for the Nice massacre, where we'd never call him the standalone. In short, this question is unclear. What's the context? What do you already know from dictionaries? – FumbleFingers Jul 22 '16 at 15:18
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    Welcome to ELU. What does your research show? Can you list dictionary definitions and a few example sentences and explain to us what confuses you most? – user140086 Jul 22 '16 at 15:24
  • Which dictionary did you use? – TrevorD Jul 22 '16 at 16:51

Standalone (more often stand-alone) means, according to the OED

stand-alone, adj, computing: designating a part of a computer system that can be used independently.

This is the only listed definition, which is strange. I have heard it use outside of the context of computing.

Wiktionary gives

stand-alone, adj, operating, functioning, or existing without additions or assistance; independent; able to be separate or separated.

Individual on the other hand means something else. Common usages include, per the OED,

individual, adj

3.a of, relating to, or characteristic of a single person, organism, or thing.

4.a existing as a separate indivisible entity; numerically one; single.

5 distinguished in nature or attributes from others; having a striking or unusual character; distinctive.

It is concerning that your dictionary gave them as synonyms. These definitions make the difference between the words fairly explicit. I cannot imagine a case in which they could be used interchangeably.

  • "individual" can also be a noun, which "standalone" cannot. – Max Williams Jul 22 '16 at 15:21

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