from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Not accompanied by another or others; solitary.
  • adjective Consisting of one part, aspect, or section.
  • adjective Having the same application for all; uniform.
  • adjective Consisting of one in number.
  • adjective Not divided; unbroken.
  • adjective Separate from others; individual and distinct.
  • adjective Having individual opponents; involving two individuals only.
  • adjective Honest; undisguised.
  • adjective Wholly attentive.
  • adjective Designed to accommodate one person or thing.
  • adjective Not married or involved in a romantic relationship.
  • adjective Relating to a state of being unmarried or uninvolved in a romantic relationship.
  • adjective Botany Having only one rank or row of petals.
  • noun One that is separate and individual.
  • noun Something capable of carrying, moving, or holding one person or thing at a time, as a bed or a hotel room.
  • noun A person who is not married or involved in a romantic relationship.
  • noun Such persons considered as a group.
  • noun A one-dollar bill.
  • noun A phonograph record, especially a forty-five, having one song on each side.
  • noun A song on one of these sides.
  • noun A song, often from a full-length album or compact disc, that is released for airplay.
  • noun Baseball A hit enabling the batter to reach first base.
  • noun A hit for one run in cricket.
  • noun A golf match between two players.
  • noun A tennis or badminton match between two players.
  • noun A competition in which individuals compete against each other, as in rowing or figure skating.
  • intransitive verb To cause (a base runner) to score or advance by hitting a single.
  • intransitive verb To cause the scoring of (a run) by hitting a single.
  • intransitive verb To hit a single.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make single, separate, or alone; retire; sequester.
  • To select individually from among a number; choose out separately from others: commonly followed by out.
  • To lead aside or apart from others.
  • Nautical, to unite, so as to combine several parts into one: as, to single the tacks and sheets.
  • To separate; go apart from others: said specifically of a hunted deer when it leaves the herd.
  • Same as single-foot.
  • noun In whist, the score made by the winners when the game is 5 points up and rubbers are played, if the losers of any game are 3 or 4 up: as, ‘single, double, and the rub.’
  • noun In the extraction of antimony from its native sulphid, the manufacturers' name for the first crude product from melting the ore with scrap-iron. It generally contains about 91.5 per cent. antimony, 7 per cent. iron, and 1 per cent. sulphur.
  • noun In golf, two players playing against each other.
  • noun In furniture, silverware, and the like, a separate piece not belonging to a set.
  • noun One strand of sliver, roving thread, or yarn.
  • noun plural A commercial name in England for thin sheet-steel or -iron used as a foundation for tin-plate, having a thickness ranging from 0.238 to 0.35 of an inch, or from No. 4 to No. 20 B. W. G.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English sengle, from Old French, from Latin singulus; see sem- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English sengle, from Old French sengle, from Latin singulus a diminutive from the root in simplex ("simple"). See simple, and compare singular.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word single.


  • The glories of the 'single transferable vote' yahooBuzzArticleHeadline = 'The glories of the \'single transferable vote\' '; yahooBuzzArticleSummary =' Article: The Iowa Democratic Party caucuses achieve the ideal form of representative democracy: They are probably the most influential example in American politics of a voting method called the "single transferable vote."'

    The glories of the 'single transferable vote' 2008

  • CRAPSEY: "Now, I say this is the great law of religious variation, that in almost every instance, indeed, I think, in every single instance in history, all such movements begin with a _single_ personality."

    The Truth about Jesus : Is He a Myth? 1901

  • "We should not waste a single item, a ­single dollar, just to wait in a warehouse."

    The Guardian World News 2010

  • I. iii.140 (415,7) single state of man] The _single state of man_ seems to be used by Shakespeare for an _individual_, in opposition to a

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies Samuel Johnson 1746

  • David Stringfellow, senior economist in the governor's office of planning and budget prefers the term "single rate" because Utah grants credits that change tax liabilities.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion 2011

  • In the final version, the phrase "single point of failure" disappeared.

    Study recommends SEC reorganization 2011

  • It is being opposed by the Congressional leadership to the point that advocates at one committee hearing were ejected and arrested for even mentioning the term single-payer.

    Health Care Reform Sell-Out: Why Obama and the Democrats are Either Shysters or Idiots 2009

  • The land question should have a distinct recognition as a true reform issue, and while committal to the policy signified by the term single tax, in its entirety, should be avoided, land speculation and monopoly should be condemned as a monstrous evil, and against that evil should be directed such special taxation of land values as will check and ultimately destroy it, without too rudely disturbing existing values.

    The Arena Volume 4, No. 24, November, 1891 Various 1888

  • Held, accordingly, that the fourth section of the Act of Congress, of September 27th, 1850, granting by way of donation, lands in Oregon Territory, to every white settler or occupant, American half-breed Indians included, embraced within the term single man an unmarried woman.

    History of Woman Suffrage, Volume II Matilda Joslyn Gage 1862

  • Make Me Proud; his title single with Rihanna only half engages her strength; and the title of the Stevie Wonder duet Doing It Wrong is cruelly accurate.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed ROBERT EVERETT-GREEN 2011


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books.

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    March 3, 2009