sin·​gle | \ˈsiŋ-gəl \

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for single

Synonyms: Adjective

alone, lone, lonely, lonesome, solitary, solo, unaccompanied

Antonyms: Adjective


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of single in a Sentence


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.


He hit a single to right field. Do you want to play singles or doubles?


He singled to right field.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The high-streetwear brand Off-White occupies a corner of the sprawling, single-story warehouse. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Los Angeles Is a Fashion Wasteland. Can One Store Change That?," 5 Nov. 2018 All of the candy bars were presented on a single, paper-aluminum tray, not packed up to make the journey back home with me. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Yes, we flew to Japan to watch someone pour liquid nitrogen on custom Kit Kats," 28 Oct. 2018 Stack all the best flavors of Thanksgiving — pumpkin, cranberry, and pecan — into a single three-tiered cake. Woman's Day Test Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Thanksgiving Cake," 24 Oct. 2018 That’s likely to scare off the elite founders who are naturally skittish about yielding too much control to any investors, never mind one single one. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "SoftBank has a lot to worry about if it strikes this deal with WeWork," 10 Oct. 2018 Gallo noted that Nnedi Okorafor’s novella Binti was originally intended as a single story. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "How went from website to a publisher of sci-fi’s most innovative stories," 8 Sep. 2018 Below, a snapshot into my mind the mind of every person who's ever debated throwing out every single one of their earthly possessions. The Editors Of House Beautiful, House Beautiful, "13 Thoughts Everyone Has Had While Cleaning Out Her Closet," 29 Aug. 2018 The situation illustrates the difficulty for companies closely tied to a single person, and that Papa John's may need to distance itself further from Schnatter after dealing with backlashes brought about by his comments. Candice Choi,, "Papa John is gone, but his image is still entwined with pizza chain," 12 July 2018 There’s also the Presidential Innovation Fellows, or PIFs, so that’s more like a single person parachutes in and tackles a hard problem. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Matt Cutts of the U.S. Digital Service on Recode Decode," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The part about adoption being more difficult for singles? Carolyn Hax, The Seattle Times, "Her family doesn’t support the idea of her being a single mom," 7 Nov. 2018 The talented performer writes music and plays piano in her spare time, and has released several singles over the years. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Who Is Jessica Lowndes? All About the Star of Hallmark's 'Christmas at Pemberley Manor'," 27 Oct. 2018 On top of singing singles for TV shows, Jessica released her first EP entitled Nothing Like This in 2012. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Here's Why Jessica Lowndes of Hallmark's 'Christmas at Pemberley Manor' Looks So Familiar," 27 Oct. 2018 Arlissa is now signed to Def Jam with a singles deal, which allows her enough artistic freedom. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Arlissa’s Breakthrough Was 10 Years in the Making," 15 Oct. 2018 Not a pumpkin spice latte and not an eye shadow single. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Anastasia Beverly Hills Palette Prices Are Increasing — Here’s Why," 12 Oct. 2018 Markle was spotted in July attending the Wimbledon singles final match between Williams and Germany's Angelique Kerber. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Serena Williams on Meghan Markle friendship: 'We really are relying on each other a lot'," 24 Sep. 2018 The commercially successful single went on to power its way atop the Billboard Hot 100 on May 3, 2008, and spent five weeks at No. 1. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "Decoding All of Drake's References on 'In My Feelings'," 13 July 2018 The Astros struck three consecutive singles to begin the fourth. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Athletics hammer Lance McCullers in Astros' loss," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Instead, Vazquez and Mookie Betts singled and Benintendi drew an eight-pitch walk to load the bases. Brian Costa, WSJ, "Red Sox Notch Game 2 World Series Win Over Dodgers," 25 Oct. 2018 Cal Hejza followed with a bunt single and Garry Maynard singled to load the bases with no outs. Paul Johnson, Aurora Beacon-News, "JD gets job done: Miller goes 4-for-6 and scores three runs as Oswego outlasts Kaneland in regional," 11 July 2018 Pinch-hitter David Bote singled to load the bases, and Ben Zobrist greeted Reds reliever Jared Hughes with a two-run double that pulled the Cubs within 7-6. Phil Rogers,, "Four-run eighth inning gives Cubs wild 8-7 win against Reds," 7 July 2018 Isaac Herrera singled, and then took advantage of two wild throws by the Cypress catcher to score another run. Sam Dodge,, "Fountain Valley PONY edges Cypress to reach regional semifinals," 30 June 2018 Rutschman singled his first three times at bat and drove in a run in the first and another in the third for a 3-0 lead. Eric Olson,, "Oregon State beats Arkansas to win College World Series," 29 June 2018 Saturday is a chance for Williams to equal Margaret Court’s longstanding record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, "Serena Williams, Enjoying Every Moment, Is Back in the Wimbledon Final," 12 July 2018 Travis Jankowski singled to lead off the game and Carlos Asuaje immediately doubled him in for a 1-0 lead that lasted only until Lucchesi’s laborious third inning. Jeff Sanders,, "Lucchesi labors as Padres fall to Dodgers," 11 July 2018 Carmel's Lauren Lemonds won the girls singles title in 2017. Matthew Vantryon, Indianapolis Star, "Spencer Fields leaving dominant Carmel tennis program for Brownsburg," 25 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about single

Statistics for single

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for single

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on single

What made you want to look up single? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!