re·​sid·​u·​al | \ ri-ˈzi-jə-wəl How to pronounce residual (audio) , -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

Adjective She's still dealing with the residual effects of the accident.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Jackson and the Ravens suspect the cramps were a residual from the COVID-19 that knocked the quarterback out of action for two weeks. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "How these NFL players who had COVID-19 returned to play," 28 Jan. 2021 As to residuals, the SAG-AFTRA deal is likely to largely mirror the Directors Guild of America pact that was ratified April 3. Jonathan Handel, The Hollywood Reporter, "SAG-AFTRA, Studios to Start Contract Talks Monday, Sidelining Writers Guild," 24 Apr. 2020 Negotiations, which cover television, streaming and theatrical product, are expected to center on wages, residuals and various aspects of working conditions such as holds and exclusivity. Jonathan Handel, The Hollywood Reporter, "SAG-AFTRA, Studios to Start Contract Talks Monday, Sidelining Writers Guild," 24 Apr. 2020 International Paper generates nearly 75% of our paper mill energy from these biomass residuals rather than from fossil fuels. Fortune, "Why you shouldn’t feel guilty about paper packaging when you shop online," 30 Jan. 2020 The nightmare of the 2017 special Senate election, the residual of which Moore is still living, seemed far away at that instant. Paul Gattis |, al, "Roy Moore’s 2017 election loss to Doug Jones still ‘an albatross’," 29 Feb. 2020 In key areas, particularly residuals, the deal the DGA reaches is likely to set a pattern for the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA, whose current contracts expire May 1 and June 30, respectively. Jonathan Handel, The Hollywood Reporter, "Directors Guild to Begin Formal Talks With Studios," 4 Feb. 2020 The absence of streaming residuals in the musicians’ contract is an artifact of history. Los Angeles Times, "Column: How the rise of streaming could turn Hollywood musicians into an endangered species," 26 Sep. 2019 Certainly not anyone who doesn’t already have a bunch of savings or residuals coming in from things that were made five or 10 years ago. Jonathan Handel, The Hollywood Reporter, "Writers Guild Challenger Phyllis Nagy to Agencies: "We're Not the Enemy" (Q&A)," 14 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Induction stoves also have no open flame and leave behind little residual heat once they’re turned off. Author: Steven Mufson, Anchorage Daily News, "Battle over natural gas role in climate change boils over in America’s home kitchens," 23 Feb. 2021 If a person quarantined for 10 days and had no symptoms and no test, the residual risk of transmitting coronavirus to someone else after quarantine is estimated to be about 1%, with an upper limit of about 10%, the CDC said on its website. Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN, "CDC says 14-day Covid-19 quarantine can be shortened to 7 to 10 days," 2 Dec. 2020 Temperatures will dip into the low 20s, and residual moisture on the road will freeze and cause slick spots. Slone Terranella, Detroit Free Press, "Metro Detroiters may wake up to light dusting of snow — not winter wonderland," 25 Dec. 2020 There are sophisticated measurements available to identify minimal residual disease already, and these now must be employed to detect the earliest possible transitions and minimal initial disease. Members Of The Oncology Think Tank, Scientific American, "We Must Find Ways to Detect Cancer Much Earlier," 8 Jan. 2021 It was bottled with a small amount of residual sugar to create a frizzante-style wine. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Willamette Valley wineries turn lemons into lemonade with smoke-tainted 2020 vintage," 5 Dec. 2020 The Pentagon announced plans to reduce troops levels to 2,500 in both Afghanistan and Iraq, leaving a residual force in both countries as President Donald Trump is scheduled to leave office. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, "Pentagon plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, Iraq in Trump's waning days," 17 Nov. 2020 The residual benefits helped sustain many in the early days of the pandemic. Richard Read Seattle Bureau Chief, Los Angeles Times, "A baritone finds a safe way choirs can sing together again: over car radios," 30 Dec. 2020 Vaccinated people should still have some residual immunity to the mutated virus. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "Pandemic Year Two," 29 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for residual

Time Traveler

The first known use of residual was in 1557

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Statistics for residual

Last Updated

4 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Residual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for residual



English Language Learners Definition of residual

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


re·​sid·​u·​al | \ ri-ˈzij-(ə-)wəl, -ˈzij-əl How to pronounce residual (audio) \

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for residual

Nglish: Translation of residual for Spanish Speakers

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