Meaning of SINGULAR in English

I. ˈsiŋgyələ(r) adjective

Etymology: Middle English singuler, from Middle French singuler, singulier, from Latin singularis single, solitary, singular, from singulus one only, individual + -aris -ar — more at single


a. : of or relating to a separate person or thing : individual

every fact in the world might be singular , that is, unlike any other fact and sole of its kind — William James

assumption that the singular person can be understood apart from his culture — American Polit. Sci. Review

saw that each weed was a singular knife — Stephen Crane

to all and singular to whom these presents shall come, greetings

b. : of, relating to, or being a word form denoting one person, thing, or instance

one subject usually takes a singular verb

— opposed to plural ; compare dual

c. : of or relating to a single instance or to something considered by itself : applied to only one individual

a singular term

a singular proposition

— opposed to general


(1) : of or relating to a single or individual unit

convey several parcels of land all and singular

(2) : of, relating to, or affecting a particular property or one or more separate interests or rights in property as distinguished from the entire body of a decedent's estate or any interest or right in property acquired otherwise than by inheritance — compare singular succession


a. obsolete : set apart or distinguished by superiority : eminent

b. : of considerable extent or worth : extraordinary , exceptional

achieved a singular mechanical triumph that won him wide renown — Sherwood Anderson

a singular poetic achievement — H.W.V.Lange

holds a singular regard for his people

his death is a singular loss

c. obsolete : especially helpful or efficacious : beneficial

3. archaic

a. : consisting of one only

b. : having but one on each side

those in his high place fight no singular combats — Sir Walter Scott


a. : of unusual quality : uncommon , unique

various speculations put forward in explanation of the singular phenomena of this remarkable place — Harry Luke

a work of singular originality and analytical power — Economica

that woman of singular mystery, the Mona Lisa — Elizabeth Janeway

b. : rare , valuable

a man of singular charm and sterling character — D.S.Muzzey

an effect of singular grace and delicacy — American Guide Series: Maine

of singular and exquisite workmanship


a. : being at variance with others : differing , contrary

am not singular in the opinion that much of the disease which does prevail might be avoided — Charles Dickens

nor are we singular in our judgment — Aldous Huxley

b. : departing from general usage or expectation : peculiar , eccentric

a singular dog … of the color of chocolate — Arnold Bennett

singular to say, the one dangerous and objectionable feature in this little volume preserved it from limbo — George Meredith

hit upon the singular expedient of diminishing the quality of their justice in order to reduce the demand for it — T.F.T.Plucknett

c. : possessing various unique mathematical properties

a singular point or integral in a differential equation

Synonyms: see strange

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Latin singularis, from singularis, adjective, single

1. : the singular number, the inflectional form denoting it, or a word in that form

that the human mind has to think in terms of singular and plural — Weston La Barre

he is the singular of they


a. archaic : a single person, instance, or thing : individual

eloquence would be but a poor thing, if we should converse only with singulars — Ben Jonson

b. : something that is considered by itself or as a single term ; also : singular proposition — usually used in plural

experiences might all have been singulars, no one of them occurring twice — William James

an accepted principle in the middle ages that reason or intellect and science are of universals, whereas the senses are of singulars — G.P.Klubertanz


(1) obsolete : an adult wild boar

(2) : a company of wild boars

III. adjective

1. of a matrix : having a determinant equal to zero

2. of a linear transformation : having the property that the matrix of coefficients of the new variables has a determinant equal to zero

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