Meaning of SINGLE in English

I. ˈsiŋgəl adjective

Etymology: Middle English single, sengle, from Middle French, from Latin singulus one only, individual; akin to Latin sem- one — more at same


a. : living in an unmarried state : celibate

take anything she can get in the way of a husband rather than face penury as a single woman — G.B.Shaw

b. : of or relating to celibacy

prefers the single state

2. : unattended or unaccompanied by others : solitary

he is left alone, single and unsupported, like a leafless trunk — Mirror



(1) : consisting of or having only one part, feature, or portion as opposed to or contrasted with double or complex

double consonants are often used in place of single consonants

binocular single vision was tested — H.G.Armstrong

(2) : consisting of one as opposed to or in contrast with many : uniform

undertaking to justify a single scale of rates for the entire country — W.M.W.Splawn

the states sought a single type of automobile plate

(3) : consisting of only one in number

a single anchor holds the boat

holds to a single ideal

— often used with not

not a single opponent of statehood appeared before the committee — Midwest Journal

has not made one single concession to any other quarter — R.T.H.Fletcher

b. : having only the normal number of petals or rays : not double — used especially of a horticultural plant

a single rose


a. : of or relating to a particular member or part : individual

when nature is so careless of the single life, why should we coddle ourselves — R.L.Stevenson

each single citizen is an important part of the community

b. : of, relating to, or involving only one person

check his single judgments against a larger conception or in a perspective of the whole — Meyer Schapiro

will try his single strength against all the world


a. obsolete : lacking qualification or addition : plain

b. archaic : of poor quality : weak

drank his single ale

6. : taken by itself apart from its group or constituency : distinct , separate

every single minute I kept wishing — Agnes S. Turnbull

the most important single resource — B.B.Jennings

more than any other single influence of their period — American Guide Series: Texas

the largest single agency providing assistance — Shlomo Katz


a. : free from duplicity or insincerity : frank , honest , open

the willingness of the incumbent … to devote himself with a single mind to the public good — R.M.Dawson

jealousy is the flaw in the single heart — Ellen Glasgow

keep your eye single and your hands clean — Charles Kingsley

b. : exclusively concerned or attentive — usually used of an eye

lives with an eye single to his own advantage — New Republic

everything in this line has been procured … with an eye single to the taste of his numerous patrons — D.D.Martin

8. : consisting of a whole : unbroken , undivided

science and speed have made our world into a single neighborhood — Barbara Ward

the great cause was the same; the source of all the movements was elemental, natural, and single — J.L.Motley

9. : having one on each side : man to man

who now defies thee thrice to single fight — John Milton

10. : having no equal or like : unusual , singular

was that rare critic, perhaps even that unique and single critic — J.C.Ransom

single among his fellows

11. : only , sole

his single speech, that of January 31, 1861, received high praise — W.C.Ford

his single intent was to speak a word of sympathy — A.T.Quiller-Couch

the single piece of evidence

12. : having the added musical part lying uniformly above or below the cantus firmus in two-part counterpoint

13. : designed for the use of one person or family only

a single room

a single house


sole , unique , lone , solitary , separate , particular : single applies to that consisting of one alone and not capable of being felt as accompanied by or joined with another

a single instance

a single currency system

Maine … is the only one adjoined by but a single sister state — American Guide Series: Maine

the lover imagines but a single joy; to be master of his love in body and soul — George Santayana

sole may intensify the notion that what is under consideration is the only one

the sole lien to the estate

the sole product of his factory

invention is almost never the sole work of a single inventor — Lewis Mumford

buy out his partners … and thus become sole stockholder — Current Biography

the sole casualty of the battle … was one cow — R.W.Hatch

unique in reference to things like manuscripts and coins designates the only one extant; in other uses it indicates that which stands alone because of its unusual character

the manuscript of Beowulf is unique

the unique character of the English conquest of Britain needs special emphasis — Kemp Malone

a unique combination of warm and relatively sunny winters, and a summer without excessively high temperatures — E.L.Ullman

lone and solitary may suggest both single and isolated

who in cells deep and lone have languished — P.B.Shelley

the ambitious Aaron Burr who played a lone hand against the field — V.L.Parrington

the solitary sin of an otherwise blameless character

a sentry kept solitary vigil — J.H.Cutler

separate stresses lack of connection with others; it indicates discreteness rather than singleness

there was no separate church, in our sense of the term, as an independent organism within the state — G.L.Dickinson

given in two separate and distinct sections of the constitution — John Marshall

particular in this sense stresses the fact of being regarded as distinct

we shall venture beyond the particular book in search of qualities that group books together — Virginia Woolf

some particular achievement of modern technology, like an electric shaver or the automobile — D.W.Brogan

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English sengle, from sengle, adjective, single


a. : a claw of a hawk or falcon

b. : the tail of a deer


a. : a separate individual person

the guests arrive in singles and pairs

b. : a separate individual member of a large class of similar or identical objects: as

(1) : a one-dollar bill

flashing a big bankroll, generally a wad of singles wrapped up in a hundred-dollar bill — Police Gazette

(2) : a phonograph record usually with not over five minutes of recording on each side

will release the sides both as singles and as an … LP record — Down Beat

(3) : a piece or section of sheet metal over 1/32 of an inch in thickness — used in plural

c. : a modification of the coursing order in change ringing consisting of holding one bell in place through several changes

3. singles plural : change ringing as performed on four bells


a. : a continuous strand of reeled or spun silk

b. : a thread or yarn of any fiber that is twisted or thrown — often used in plural


a. : a hit for one run in the game of cricket

b. : one-base hit

6. singles plural

a. : a tennis match or similar game with one player on each side

we play singles or doubles

b. : a golf match between two players — distinguished from foursome

7. : a boat or shell propelled by one oarsman


a. : a performance or entertainment by only one person

offers to do singles on other shows and in some clubs — Newsweek

b. : a person who does a single

started hiring out as a single at lodge dances — Time

9. : a flower having the normal number of petals or ray florets typical of the species

10. : a room, apartment, or house designed to accommodate one person or one family

the apartment is a single

small singles of five and six rooms — Brendon Shea

III. verb

( singled ; singled ; singling -g(ə)liŋ ; singles )

Etymology: single (I)

transitive verb


a. archaic : to move asunder : part , separate

b. : to separate (an animal) from a herd in order to chase or hunt separately

single out a young cow

2. obsolete : to lead aside : sequester , withdraw

I have singleed thee alone — Shakespeare


a. : to select or distinguish (a person or thing) from a number or group

walks up to the line and singles every 10th man

— usually used with out

singles out for special praise the guidebook to Wells cathedral — Pyke Johnson

b. : to select or distinguish (a person or thing) for especial attention or comment — usually used with out

something about his person that singled him out from the rest of the punctual moving crowd — E.V.Lucas

had singled him out as his successor — John Buchan

all I can do is to single out a few of the basic ideas — A.W.Hummel

4. Britain : to thin (seedlings) so as to leave space between the plants


a. archaic : to reduce to only one : concentrate

b. : to reduce (as a doubled rope) from a number of parts to one


a. : to advance (a base runner) by a one-base hit

singled him to third base

b. : to bring about the scoring of (a run) by a one-base hit

intransitive verb

1. archaic : to separate oneself from others : proceed alone

2. : to thin out seedlings

3. : to take in all bights of mooring lines on a ship except single lines preparatory to getting under way — usually used with up

4. : to make a one-base hit

singled to center and knocked in two more runs — James Thurber

singled behind his catcher — John Drebinger

IV. adverb

: singly

V. noun

: an unmarried person and especially one young and socially active — usually used in plural

a way of life for young singles — Norman Mailer

a singles weekend

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.