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

Keep scrolling for more

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

And last month the Congressional Budget Office reported that even if the current surge in economic growth isn’t sustained, the revenue residual from our current strong growth rate will pay for some 80% of the projected cost of the 2017 tax reform. Phil Gramm And, WSJ, "Tax Reform Unleashed the U.S. Economy," 4 Mar. 2019 Jordyn can catch residuals, yes, but making her the target is trash. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Khloé Kardashian Calls BS on Jordyn Woods' Red Table Talk Interview and Twitter Claps Back," 1 Mar. 2019 These earnings from film and TV also don't take into account residuals—the money that actors and other creatives are paid for reruns, syndication, and home entertainment releases. Emma Dibdin, Country Living, "Tim Allen’s Salary Per Episode of ‘Last Man Standing’ Will Make Your Jaw Drop," 21 Sep. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Rinse the pumpkin under cool water to rid the skin of any residual dirt and dry well with a clean towel. Karen Berner, Good Housekeeping, "How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree to Use In Your Favorite Fall Recipes," 18 July 2018 Cook the pork in the residual pork fat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is lightly crispy in spots, 8 to 10 minutes. Krystyna Chávez, Marie Claire, "9 Easy Kentucky Derby Recipe Ideas You Can Whip Up In No Time," 3 May 2019 That the supermodel moment of the 1990s was a residual effect of the feminist movement of the ’60s and ’70s. Abby Aguirre, Vogue, "How the World Fell Head Over Heels for RuPaul," 15 Apr. 2019 The wine that goes best with all of these dishes is something with a little bit of residual sugar, some texture, and good acidity. Kristin Tice Studeman, Vogue, "The Best Wine for Every Thanksgiving Scenario," 19 Nov. 2018 The topicals were doing their thing to prevent breakouts, but the C&E Advanced helped any zits that did pop up heal faster and make their residual marks less distinct than usual. Devon Abelman, Allure, "This Powerful Vitamin C Treatment Helped Me Get the Glass Skin of My Dreams," 19 Mar. 2019 Otherwise, the residual chemicals in the stripper can discolor the new paint and prevent it from securely bonding to the wood’s surface. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Safely Remove Paint," 25 Jan. 2019 Whether the older generation had some residual immunity as survivors of the previous widespread influenza outbreak of 1890 is less certain. William F. Bynum, WSJ, "‘Pandemic 1918’ and ‘Influenza’ Review: Fire, Ice or Virus?," 4 Jan. 2019 At refineries in Finland, the Netherlands and Singapore, Neste’s engineers pretreat and purify gloopy waste animal fat and residual plant oils before adding hydrogen. Sarah Kent, WSJ, "The Key to Big Profits in Clean Energy: Animal Fats," 14 Aug. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about residual

Statistics for residual

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for residual

The first known use of residual was in 1557

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!