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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for single

Synonyms: Adjective

unattached, unmarried, unwed

Antonyms: Adjective

attached, espoused, hitched, married, wedded (also wed)

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

On Spotify alone, the single currently has over 366,000,000 streams—and now, it’s starting to get covered by some famous fans, too. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Kelly Clarkson Covered “Shallow” and the Internet Lost It," 17 Feb. 2019 The way single Americans pair up has changed a lot over the years. Dean Peterson, Vox, "How the economy shapes our love lives," 13 Feb. 2019 The central issue in prosecutors’ petition is an Illinois law that allows a judge to sentence a person for only the most serious crime when he is convicted of multiple crimes for what amounts to a single act. Don Babwin, The Seattle Times, "Prosecutors seek new sentence in Laquan McDonald case," 12 Feb. 2019 According to Aviation Week & Space Technology, the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force still operates 44 F-5Es (single seat jets) and 15 F-5Fs (two seat combat-capable trainers). Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Iran’s Aging American-Made Jets Could Fly Through the 2040s," 11 Feb. 2019 Although many of the characters have had some sort of romantic interest on the show, Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) has stayed mostly single following the death of his wife, Mary Margaret Reagan. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'Blue Bloods' Star Tom Selleck Confirms If Frank Reagan Will Date a Woman From His Past," 8 Feb. 2019 People who need to preserve capital should never invest in a single high-yield issuer. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Spicy Bond Issue Could Burn Buyers," 30 Oct. 2018 Holding justices to a single, nonrenewable term would lower the stakes of any individual Supreme Court nomination as well as make the timing of fights more predictable. Ezra Klein, Vox, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the case for 18-year Supreme Court terms," 26 Dec. 2018 Each Friday, The Verge’s Cut the Crap column simplifies the choice by sorting through the overwhelming multitude of movies and TV shows on subscription services, and recommending a single perfect thing to watch this weekend. Noel Murray, The Verge, "This weekend, stream a different version of Aquaman from home," 21 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The new cap will affect many married couples more than singles, because the $10,000 SALT limit is per return and not per person. WSJ, "WSJ Tax Guide 2019: State and Local Tax Deduction," 15 Feb. 2019 During a Tinder date, the newly-single Jessica can’t stop talking about her ex—and lucky for her, neither can her date. Alexis Jones And Deanna Janes, Harper's BAZAAR, "21 Rom-Coms to Stream on Netflix this Valentine's Day," 13 Feb. 2019 Baseball pundits once believed a middle infielder was necessarily a player of slight build who slapped singles to the opposite field. Colin Fleming, WSJ, "Jackie Robinson, the Complete Ballplayer," 30 Jan. 2019 New sections will include singles and EPs, live albums, and songs the artist appears on, as well as latest releases. Micah Singleton, The Verge, "Apple Music is easier to use and has more personalized features in iOS 12," 12 Sep. 2018 She and Prince William are at the tournament to watch the men's singles final, where Novak Djokovic will take on South Africa's Kevin Anderson for the Grand Slam title. Lindsay Silberman, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Steps Out at Wimbledon in a Dolce & Gabbana Dress," 15 July 2018 Grab a few singles, snag a set, or do both — with a sale this good, the splurge is not only inevitable, it's encouraged. Tanisha Pina, Allure, "All The Candles That Are on Sale During the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale," 20 July 2018 The fact Florida managed only one run, on Jonathan India’s RBI single, felt like a win after Henley loaded the bases before recording a single out. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "UT eliminated from College World Series by Florida," 20 June 2018 The band recorded several tracks for the series soundtrack album, but their first single was never commercially released. Emma Dibdin, Country Living, "Meet Hallmark's ‘Time For Me to Come Home for Christmas’ Star Josh Henderson," 9 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In their joint statement released Thursday, the NGOs singled out conditions in the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos and the camp on the island of Samos, respectively about three and six times over capacity. Fox News, "The Latest: Poor conditions at Greek migrant camps slammed," 13 Sep. 2018 The complaint singled out China and Russia, which have continued to sell refined petroleum to North Korea and historically have resisted the use of sanctions as a pressure tactic. New York Times, "Trump Cites ‘Great Progress’ in North Korea Nuclear Talks," 12 July 2018 The president singled out Germany's energy deal with Russia. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "Even at NATO summit, President Trump presses trade complaints about Europe," 11 July 2018 Trump singled out Tester in April, saying the farmer from Big Sandy ‘‘will have a big price to pay’’ for releasing allegations against Jackson that included drunkenness, overprescribing medication and fostering a hostile work environment. Catherine Lucey And Matt Volz,, "Trump urges senator’s ouster at rally for Montana Republican," 5 July 2018 Choo, who was awarded his Rangers' June Player of the Month honor before first pitch, walked twice and singled twice. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "Astros hold on against Rangers but Shin-Soo Choo stretches on-base streak to 43 games," 3 July 2018 Nevins also singles out Bealum for praise, complimenting his fun factoids. Michael Mcgough, sacbee, "Sacramento comedian may be the best part of Netflix weed-based cooking show, reviews say," 29 June 2018 An inning later, Craig Gentry singled but was thrown out stealing second. Jon Meoli,, "Manny Machado hits two-run homer in 15th, Orioles earn 10-7 marathon win over Braves," 23 June 2018 Nothing happened beyond that spirited argument, and the bad feelings were gone when Machado singled in the 13th inning. Greg Beacham, The Seattle Times, "Benches clear after Machado clips Aguilar’s leg in NLCS," 16 Oct. 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.

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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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Statistics for single

Last Updated

20 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for single

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

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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 \

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with single

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for single

Spanish Central: Translation of single

Nglish: Translation of single for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of single for Arabic Speakers

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).


excited commotion or publicity

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