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 single (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 Meanwhile, 1,837 more received Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine. Alex Mann,, "Maryland approaches 5 million COVID vaccines administered," 5 May 2021 Half of those received Pfizer, 44% got Moderna and 6% got the single-shot Johnson & Johnson. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "COVID-19 vaccine rates in Kentucky: See how your county is doing," 4 May 2021 One recent example of surprisingly good news under a consent decree is Newark, which ended 2020 without its officers firing a single shot during the calendar year. Clarence Page,, "Column: If Chicago is in hot pursuit of a better police chase policy, why is it moving so slowly?," 4 May 2021 South Carolina declined to order new doses of Pfizer and Moderna but did accept new doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Max Bayer, CBS News, "More than 20 states not ordering all available doses as COVID-19 vaccinations slow," 3 May 2021 To count as a breakthrough case, a person must have been infected at least two weeks after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. San Diego Union-Tribune, "So coronavirus vaccines aren’t perfect. They’re still very, very effective," 2 May 2021 State Epidemiologist Jennifer Dillaha said Thursday that Arkansas isn't ordering any first or second doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for next week or any doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Arkansas Democrat-gazette, Arkansas Online, "April 30, 2021: This week in Arkansas news," 30 Apr. 2021 The incident played out inside the Margarita’s Mexican restaurant on Route 30 around 9 p.m. when a man entered and fired a single shot while an unknown number of customers were inside, said Framingham Police Deputy Chief Sean Riley., "Man suffers a graze wound to the head during shooting inside Framingham restaurant," 30 Apr. 2021 California is poised to receive almost 90,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week as U.S. officials resume supplies of the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. Luke Money, Los Angeles Times, "Johnson & Johnson vaccine shipments to California resume as COVID cases keep falling," 29 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The single comes ahead of Lion Babe's third studio album, Rainbow Child. Neena Rouhani, Billboard, "Lion Babe Drops Artful 'Frida Kahlo' Video: Watch," 23 Apr. 2021 Waters recorded the single with producer Ian Brennan during the pandemic. Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone, "John Waters Marks 75th Birthday With ‘Prayer to Pasolini’," 22 Apr. 2021 The 30-second single landed Eoff an at-home recording studio worth more than $5,000. Shacamree Gowdy, Chron, "Rockdale woman wins 2020 'Don't Mess With Texas' anti-litter campaign song search," 9 Apr. 2021 In response, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus joined him on a remix of the song, which became the longest-leading No. 1 single in Hot 100 history, remaining at the top for 19 weeks, according to Billboard. NBC News, "Lil Nas X writes a letter to his younger self about coming out," 26 Mar. 2021 Among the myriad changes of a global pandemic, the outstanding single, by far, is remote work. Anton Lucanus, Forbes, "The Benefits And Challenges Of Employee Remote Work," 4 Mar. 2021 The new single is about healing after heartache, and ultimately an ode to her heritage. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "The Best Love Songs of 2021 (So Far)," 15 Jan. 2021 Morrison has focused on the effects on the live music industry — proceeds from the new single with Clapton are meant to support Morrison’s Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund. Daniel Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, "Eric Clapton joins Van Morrison’s ‘anti-lockdown’ crusade. Twitter is not amused," 27 Nov. 2020 With a single up the center field, Floyd Central’s Casey Sorg drove in leadoff hitter Jake Thompson, who got on base with a double in the bottom of the first. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "Floyd Central baseball gives up just two hits to Jeffersonville in a home win," 7 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb While Harsin declined to single out his performance on A-Day, Canion finished the spring game with six receptions — on six targets — for 51 yards and a touchdown with the first-team offense. Tom Green |, al, "Answering the 5 biggest questions Auburn football faced during Bryan Harsin’s 1st spring," 19 Apr. 2021 With the sheepishness of a father who doesn’t want to pick favorites among children, Michetti was hesitant to single out productions in which the magic all came together. Los Angeles Times, "His Sondheim show was a COVID-19 casualty, but Michael Michetti hasn’t lost his ‘Passion’," 12 Mar. 2021 From there our editors test and single out the most impressive items. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "Introducing the 265 Best Beauty Products of 2021," 24 Mar. 2021 Intelligence officials did not single out any Trump ally in that effort. Eric Tucker, ajc, "US: Putin approved operations to help Trump against Biden," 17 Mar. 2021 In her decision released Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs wrote that Whole Foods did not single out the workers based on race. Mark Pratt, Star Tribune, "Racial discrimination claims against Whole Foods dismissed," 8 Feb. 2021 And some others declined to single out Republicans, opting to halt donations to both parties. Washington Post, "Chamber of Commerce declines to rebuke members of Congress who voted to overturn 2020 election," 3 Mar. 2021 Frankly, there was no reason to single out the third. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "We’re all out of excuses. Who are these Dallas Mavericks?," 5 Feb. 2021 To make sweeping generalizations about the physical attributes of a race, and then to label a product as such, is to single out the product and its consumers as outliers. Benny Chen, Outside Online, "Can We Please Stop Calling Them “Asian Fit” Goggles?," 22 Feb. 2021

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

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Single.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for single



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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