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

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 There is a sense of shell shock, likely some residual effects of PTSD. John P. Darcy, Vogue, "The Year We Left New York," 27 Dec. 2018 McSally appears to have weathered any residual controversy to secure the appointment, however. Li Zhou, Vox, "Republican Martha McSally lost Arizona’s Senate race. She’s being appointed to the Senate anyway.," 18 Dec. 2018 Wait an hour or so and buff the tiles with a clean, dry cloth to remove any residual grout haze. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Clean Dirty Grout," 5 Dec. 2018 The airport was closed for nearly two hours last night but has since reopened with residual delays, according to CBS New York. Lyndsey Matthews, Marie Claire, "5 People Suffered Minor Injuries After a Fire Broke Out on a—You Guessed It!—United Flight," 24 May 2017 Interestingly enough, the holiday break hanging over the new December 21 funding deadline could serve to curb any residual appetite for a standoff since lawmakers would like to wrap things up before Christmas. Li Zhou, Vox, "Congress approves measure to prevent a partial government shutdown for another 2 weeks," 6 Dec. 2018 Then, brush the salt away and treat any residual staining with diluted dish soap or liquid laundry detergent, or a stain treatment product like Spray 'n Wash or Shout. Jolie Kerr, Town & Country, "How to Clean Table Linens," 10 Feb. 2017 By Air More than 600 flights were canceled Sunday, with residual cancellations and delays bubbling over into Monday. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Typhoon Trami Will Affect Your Travel," 1 Oct. 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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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).


to gather or build up little by little

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