re·sid·u·al | \ri-ˈzi-jə-wəl, -jəl;-ˈzij-wəl\

Definition of residual 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : remainder, residuum: such as

a : the difference between results obtained by observation and by computation from a formula or between the mean of several observations and any one of them

b : a residual product or substance

c : an internal aftereffect of experience or activity that influences later behavior especially : a disability remaining from a disease or operation

2 : a payment (as to an actor or writer) for each rerun after an initial showing (as of a TV show)



Definition of residual (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or constituting a residue

2 : leaving a residue that remains effective for some time a residual pesticide

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Other Words from residual


residually adverb

Examples of residual in a Sentence


She's still dealing with the residual effects of the accident.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This deal delivers overall gains in important areas, including meaningful increases in wages and residuals rates that will put real money in members’ pockets. Gregg Kilday, The Hollywood Reporter, "SAG-AFTRA Strikes Deal for New Broadcast TV Contract," 9 June 2018 Streaming services usually pay talent more money upfront since there is a smaller residuals pool from DVD and syndication. David Ng,, "Amazon's TV deal with Jordan Peele among the highest-profile to date for streaming service," 5 June 2018 Latvia has its own Russian question, the residual of a long hegemony by Moscow that began in 1710 and ended only in 1991, with an interruption between the world wars when Latvians first enjoyed self-determination. L. Kim Tan,, "In Latvia, we got carried away with storks," 26 June 2018 Such is the residual of standing with the Toronto Raptors as the only teams without a selection in either round, as well as without any cash to spend on trades until the start of the 2018-19 cap calendar. Ira Winderman,, "Heat's NBA draft approach could be buy now, pay later," 19 June 2018 Though Duane and Tisha will not be sanctioned by the court, the trustee will continue to collect all incoming residuals. Aurelie Corinthios,, "Tisha Campbell & Duane Martin Ordered to Turn Over Accounting in Bankruptcy Case," 18 Apr. 2018 As for the major stars of the show, including Jessica Biel, experts estimated that each likely earned upwards of six figures annually in residuals from the show’s reruns. Natalie Stone,, "Roseanne, 7th Heaven and The Cosby Show: All the TV Shows Pulled Because of Their Stars' Scandals," 30 May 2018 Liquid meth that was cooling was located in the freezer and residuals on roasting pans were found in the kitchen. Fox News, "Mom, 25, is 'CEO' of huge Minnesota meth trafficking ring, prosecutors say," 10 May 2018 Lawrence claimed made an average of $6,966 a month, including $2,500 in residuals — but his monthly expenses were far higher: $25,505.35 total, per the documents, leaving him $18,539.35 a month in the red. Aurelie Corinthios,, "Blossom's Joey Lawrence Settles Bankruptcy Case After Accumulating $355K in Debt," 9 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The sky must be clear and winds calm to allow for any residual heat to radiate away from the Earth’s surface back into space. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "The planet’s most frigid region is even colder than scientists thought," 26 June 2018 Add shrimp back to the pot and cover until fully cooked from residual heat. Leilani Marie Labong, San Francisco Chronicle, "Recipe: Dutch Oven Clam Bake," 11 May 2018 Conditions were starting to ease, but residual delays remained in place as the morning volume was building. Doug Phillips,, "Delays easing following I-95 rollover crash after Yamato Road," 2 July 2018 Environmental health workers minimize mosquito populations by coating the walls of vulnerable schools and homes with insecticide, a technique called indoor residual spraying. Emily Baumgaertner, New York Times, "In a Rare Success, Paraguay Conquers Malaria," 6 July 2018 And yet most domestic bottlings are demonstrably sweet, with not only palpable residual sugar but a milky thickness of texture. Patrick Comiskey,, "What's wrong with rosé wines, and why you should never pay more than $25 for a bottle," 19 Apr. 2018 Thursday, March 29: CLE Urban Winery will hold a Wine Components and Enhanced Tasting Class 7-8:30 p.m. Learn terms like tannin, residual sugar, acidity and body, American vs. French vs. Hungarian oak, and more. Marc Bona,, "Wine calendar: Chinato holds special 'skin contact' wine dinner, Mallorca has Wine and Dine in the Dark Again, more," 27 Mar. 2018 Higher residual values translate to lower monthly payments but increase the cost to buy the car at the end of the lease. Houston Chronicle, "Understand leasing terminology," 29 June 2018 But archaeologists say the soil where people of the Neolithic age likely put large timber posts can hold more residual moisture, allowing it to better cope with drought conditions and display a healthier shade of green. Daniel Victor, New York Times, "Drought and Drone Reveal ‘Once-in-a-Lifetime’ Signs of Ancient Henge in Ireland," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'residual.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of residual


1557, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for residual


Latin residuum residue

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Statistics for residual

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for residual

The first known use of residual was in 1557

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More Definitions for residual



English Language Learners Definition of residual

: remaining after a process has been completed or something has been removed


re·sid·u·al | \ri-ˈzij-(ə-)wəl, -ˈzij-əl \

Medical Definition of residual 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being something that remains: as

a : remaining after a disease or operation residual paralysis

b : remaining in a body cavity after maximum normal expulsion has occurred residual urine — see residual volume

2a : leaving a residue that remains effective for some time after application residual insecticides

b : of or relating to a residual insecticide a residual spray



Medical Definition of residual (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an internal aftereffect of experience or activity that influences later behavior

2 : a residual abnormality (as a scar or limp)


re·sid·u·al | \ri-ˈzi-jə-wəl\

Legal Definition of residual 

: of, relating to, or constituting a residue : residuary

More from Merriam-Webster on residual

Spanish Central: Translation of residual

Nglish: Translation of residual for Spanish Speakers

Comments on residual

What made you want to look up residual? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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