arrogance, selfishness, conformity

beautiful, misconstrued, different

brave, liberty, independence

choices, unique, different

cold, lonely, competition, free

creativity, necessary,

define, creative, uncommon

eccentric, teenager

expression, art, separate

expression, different, outlier

Expression, identity, unique

expression, self-esteem, differences

Freedom, Identity, Personality

good, unique, commendable

Identity, Freedom, Expression

Important but overrated

independent, idiosyncratic, pride

journalism, independence, unique

loneliness, boredom, self-centered

person, self, belief

quirky, unique, liberation, me

self, confidence, unique

self-centered, human rights, independence

separation, struggle, consumerism

thinking, power, rights

unique, independence, sought

unique, interesting, special

ambition, consommation, égoïsme

égoïsme, échec, égocentrique

égoïsme, égocentrique, idiot

égoïsme, chance, consommation

égoïsme, isolement, solitaire

égoïsme, personnel, égocentrisme

capitalisme, société contemporraine

consommation, libéralisme, économie

contemporain, villes

défaut, irrespect, fin

facilité, simpliste, égoisme

fierté, reconnaissance, égoïste

indispensable, dangereux, dommage

Inintéressant, Repli sur soi, faux jeton

intéressé, solitaire, égoisme

intéressement, sourd

liberté, isolement, société

opportunisme, radin, fierté

société actuelle, égoïsme, initiative personnelle

solitude, égoïsme, égocentrisme,


I was shocked with this entry because of the huge disparity between the French and American answers.  It seems that we believe that individualism is something that gives room for creativity and to be unique.  It is something that sets you apart from the norms of society and that helps you identify yourself.  You are not like anyone else, but you are happy with yourself.  I think this is because of the diversity in the US.  In the last 3 years at MIT, I have learned so much about people because of the huge cultural diversity that I have been introduced to here.

Why does this word have such a negative meaning?  Is there a lot of diversity in France, or hardly any?  Do you think that a place as diverse as the US would respond to this word as we did?

Je crois que le mot "individualisme" ne signifie pas la même chose dans nos 2 langues.

Ce n'est pas un problème de façon de voir les choses différentes, mais de traduction.

Pour vous individualism semble se référer à la personnalité alors que pour nous quelqu'un d'individualiste est quelqu'un qui garde tout pour lui, qui n'est pas ouvert aux autres, qui est égoïste etc...

Ce mot serait une sorte de faux-ami finalement!


Hi Pierre,

So I understand that in France there is a different meaning of Individulism than the one we think about here in the States but do you think the French in general do not like to seperate between their citizens?  I am specifically thinking of the law that banned conspicuous religious symbols in public schools.  Some one in class today brought up the ideal of "brotherhood" that the french have, do you think this is where some of the negativity that is associated with this word comes from? Is indivisualism seen as an attack against the "brotherhood"?

The different connotations of the word in French and English are very interesting and they both make logical sense. Here, we call people who take everything for themselves "selfish" or if they only think about themselves, "egocentric," but never "individualist."

If you don't call it individualism, what do you call the desire to express one's uniqueness? Does this kind of social movement exist in France?

The different connoations of the words was expected.  It is indeed a "faux ami."  As Lauren says, how would one express "unique" in France.  I am very curious to see how people regard themselves as unique in France since I have heard that the French pride themselves in being all culturally unified as a single unit.