sin·​gle | \ ˈsiŋ-gəl How to pronounce single (audio) \

Definition of single

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : not married
b : of or relating to celibacy
2 : unaccompanied by others : lone, sole the single survivor of the disaster
3a(1) : consisting of or having only one part, feature, or portion single consonants
(2) : consisting of one as opposed to or in contrast with many : uniform a single standard for men and women
(3) : consisting of only one in number holds to a single ideal
b : having but one whorl of petals or ray flowers a single rose
4a : consisting of a separate unique whole : individual every single citizen
b : of, relating to, or involving only one person
5a : frank, honest a single devotion
b : exclusively attentive an eye single to the truth
7 : having no equal or like : singular
8 : designed for the use of one person only a single room a single bed



Definition of single (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a separate individual person or thing
b : an unmarried person and especially one young and socially active usually used in plural
c(1) : a recording having one short tune on each side
(2) : a music recording having two or more tracks that is shorter than a full-length album also : a song that is particularly popular independent of other songs on the same album or by the same artist
2 : a base hit that allows the batter to reach first base
3a singles plural : a tennis match or similar game with one player on each side
b : a golf match between two players usually used in plural
4 : a room (as in a hotel) for one guest — compare double sense 7


singled; singling\ ˈsiŋ-​g(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce singling (audio) \

Definition of single (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to select or distinguish from a number or group usually used with out
2a : to advance or score (a base runner) by a single
b : to bring about the scoring of (a run) by a single

intransitive verb

: to make a single in baseball

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Synonyms & Antonyms for single

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of single in a Sentence

Adjective A single shoe was found. It costs $10 for a single glass of wine! a single serving of carrots He earns $2,000 in a single week. Noun He hit a single to right field. Do you want to play singles or doubles? Verb He singled to right field.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Sprague can’t remember a single person who didn’t like Taylor. Sarah Haselhorst,, "'He is not forgotten': Fallen Marine's memory remains an inspiration 15 years later," 25 May 2020 Portraits of Cuban independence leader Jose Marti do not escape a single room, and one side area bears a model of the landing site with green and red lights that help tell the story of the invasion. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Bay of Pigs Museum awaits Trump christening," 24 May 2020 The dates with the most deaths in a single day so far are April 30 and May 8 with 24 deaths each, followed by April 23 with 23 deaths. Chelsea Curtis, azcentral, "Arizona coronavirus update: 16,339 confirmed cases, 800 known deaths as of Sunday," 24 May 2020 Looking for something to rely on In the economists’ utopia there exists a single global carbon market. The Economist, "Fighting climate change The world urgently needs to expand its use of carbon prices," 23 May 2020 The slender design can fit on a single burner of your stovetop, on top of your outdoor grill, or even under the broiler in the oven. Jennifer Aldrich, Better Homes & Gardens, "Update Your Kitchen for Summer with Williams Sonoma's Memorial Day Sale," 22 May 2020 NAI Investment Fund III purchased Avera Commerce Center, a 16-building, 245,495-square-foot, single-story flex industrial park on 14.6 acres on Greenbriar Drive near Kirkwood in Stafford, from Raith Capital of New York. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "Real estate transactions: NAI Investment Fund makes 16-building acquisition in Stafford," 22 May 2020 No single factor explained the drop, which resulted in the existing mental health gender gap widening by 66%. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "The choices working parents make now will shape the future for women," 21 May 2020 To imagine a different future for the country requires more than imagining a single person’s life had gone differently. Laura Marsh, The New Republic, "The Flawed Fantasy of a Different Hillary Clinton," 19 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Many people already have received stimulus payments of up to $1,200 for singles and up to $2,400 for couples, plus $500 for dependent children ages 16 and younger. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Why was my stimulus check so stingy? 5 reasons you may have received less than expected," 13 May 2020 Covid-19 has forced a pivot to video for many of the estimated 41% of online singles on dating apps worldwide. Meghan Mcdonough, Quartz, "Will virtual dating outlast the pandemic?," 13 May 2020 The rapidly escalating warnings for people to keep distance from one another in order to contain the coronavirus outbreak is creating a new set of rules for social interaction and a series of complications for American singles pursuing romance. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "No sex, please, we're in a pandemic: Who can be intimate, who shouldn't while in coronavirus quarantine," 1 May 2020 Families, couples, and singles — a packed house — all perched on their own balconies followed her through a series of squats, lunges, and stretches. Alisha Prakash, Travel + Leisure, "New Yorkers Are Singing From Rooftops, Getting Hitched From Windows, and Exercising Together on Balconies to Stay Connected During Coronavirus," 8 Apr. 2020 The new normal has changed things for both singles looking for love and those in long-distance relationships. NBC News, "Dating during coronavirus turned upside down since everything is a long-distance relationship," 5 Apr. 2020 The worst states for singles were Wyoming, New Mexico, North Dakota, Arkansas and No. Briana Rice,, "Ohio is for lovers: New report says state is 6th best state for singles, Kentucky is the 44th," 4 Feb. 2020 Novelty tracks and charity singles have tackled COVID-19 head-on, but what’s more intriguing is how music recorded just on the cusp of the outbreak, or even earlier, has been recast. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "How the Mountain Goats Accidentally Made the Ultimate Social-Isolation Album," 2 May 2020 Instead of choking up on the bat and laying down bunts or chopping singles the way Ty Cobb did, Ruth gripped the bat low near the knob, and swung with a ferocious long-arcing, uppercut action. Randy Roberts And Johnny Smith, Smithsonian Magazine, "When Babe Ruth and the Great Influenza Gripped Boston," 30 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Watch: The Cannes Film Festival was canceled this year because of the pandemic, but our critics have singled out highlights from its past (and a few less-than-stellar prizewinners). Isabella Kwai, New York Times, "Coronavirus, Russia, Dominic Cummings: Your Tuesday Briefing," 26 May 2020 Storebrand Global Solutions was among the equity funds singled out last month for doing particularly well in the annual Climetrics Fund Awards. Jonas Cho Walsgard,, "Top ESG Manager Is a Philosophy Graduate With Outsized Returns," 8 May 2020 Gomez, who had struggled most of the year – leaving plenty of playing time in center field for Mogan – singled with one out in the bottom of the 10th and stole second. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 in 50: Nyjer Morgan's clutch single gives the Brewers a thrilling playoff series win," 7 May 2020 Peterson, who skipped school to stand in the radio station's parking lot with a homemade sign, had been spotted and singled out by Cyrus. Kimi Robinson, azcentral, "Remember the Phoenix teen who asked Miley Cyrus to prom? Here's what he's up to on TikTok," 1 May 2020 The Queens Adult Care Center, then called Leben Home, was singled out as one of the worst. Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica, "Now That Coronavirus Is Inside This Adult Home for the Elderly or Mentally Ill, It May Be Impossible to Stop," 2 Apr. 2020 New York, Michigan, Louisiana and the state of Washington have been singled out as virus hot spots in the U.S. Tom Krisher, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump seeks to force General Motors to produce ventilators," 27 Mar. 2020 Tower data from cellphone companies, which can locate a specific phone, has been singled out by the Supreme Court for extra protection. Michelle Hackman, WSJ, "Federal Agencies Use Cellphone Location Data for Immigration Enforcement," 7 Feb. 2020 Too often our public schools, especially those in the Twin Cities, are singled out for negative stories. Sainted & Tainted Writers, Twin Cities, "Sainted: Tribute to our Guard members killed in the line of duty," 14 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'single.' 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 single


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1628, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for single


Middle English sengle, from Anglo-French, from Latin singulus one only; akin to Latin sem- one — more at same

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Time Traveler for single

Time Traveler

The first known use of single was in the 14th century

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Statistics for single

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Single.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for single


How to pronounce single (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of single

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: not having or including another : only one
: not married or not having a serious romantic relationship with someone
used for emphasis after words like any, each, every, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of single (Entry 2 of 3)

: an unmarried person and especially one who is young and socially active
baseball : a hit that allows the batter to reach first base
cricket : a hit that scores one run



English Language Learners Definition of single (Entry 3 of 3)

: to hit a single in baseball


sin·​gle | \ ˈsiŋ-gəl How to pronounce single (audio) \

Kids Definition of single

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : being alone : being the only one He … made a single effort to jump …— Walter Farley, The Black Stallion
2 : being a separate whole : individual … the sheriff pretended to study the menu—though he knew every single word on it by heart.— Robert McCloskey, Homer Price
3 : not married
4 : made up of or having only one The word has a single syllable.
5 : made for only one person a single bed


singled; singling

Kids Definition of single (Entry 2 of 3)

: to select or distinguish (as one person or thing) from a number or group My sister was singled out for praise.



Kids Definition of single (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a separate individual person or thing
2 : a hit in baseball that enables the batter to reach first base

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More from Merriam-Webster on single

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for single

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with single

Spanish Central: Translation of single

Nglish: Translation of single for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of single for Arabic Speakers

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