1

singular

adjective sin·gu·lar \ ˈsiŋ-gyə-lər \
Updated on: 9 Dec 2017

Definition of singular

1 a : of or relating to a separate person or thing : individual
b : of, relating to, or being a word form denoting one person, thing, or instance
  • a singular noun
c : of or relating to a single instance or to something considered by itself
2 : distinguished by superiority : exceptional
  • an artist of singular attainments
3 : being out of the ordinary : unusual
  • on the way home we had a singular adventure
4 : departing from general usage or expectation : peculiar, odd
  • the air had a singular chill
5 a of a matrix : having a determinant equal to zero
b of a linear transformation : having the property that the matrix of coefficients of the new variables has a determinant equal to zero

singularly

adverb

Examples of singular in a Sentence

  1. In the phrase “his car is red,” the word “car” is a singular noun.

  2. He had a singular appearance.

Recent Examples of singular from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'singular.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of singular

Middle English singuler, from Anglo-French, from Latin singularis, from singulus only one — more at single

Synonym Discussion of singular

strange, singular, unique, peculiar, eccentric, erratic, odd, quaint, outlandish mean departing from what is ordinary, usual, or to be expected. strange stresses unfamiliarity and may apply to the foreign, the unnatural, the unaccountable.
    • a journey filled with strange sights
singular suggests individuality or puzzling strangeness.
    • a singular feeling of impending disaster
unique implies singularity and the fact of being without a known parallel.
    • a career unique in the annals of science
peculiar implies a marked distinctiveness.
    • the peculiar status of America's first lady
eccentric suggests a wide divergence from the usual or normal especially in behavior.
    • the eccentric eating habits of preschoolers
erratic stresses a capricious and unpredictable wandering or deviating.
    • a friend's suddenly erratic behavior
odd applies to a departure from the regular or expected.
    • an odd sense of humor
quaint suggests an old-fashioned but pleasant oddness.
    • a quaint fishing village
outlandish applies to what is uncouth, bizarre, or barbaric.
    • outlandish fashions of the time

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


2

singular

noun

Definition of singular

1 : the singular number, the inflectional form denoting it, or a word in that form
2 : a singular term

First Known Use of singular

14th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms



SINGULAR Defined for English Language Learners

singular

adjective

Definition of singular for English Language Learners

  • grammar : showing or indicating no more than one thing

  • : better or greater than what is usual or normal

  • : strange or odd


SINGULAR Defined for Kids

1

singular

adjective sin·gu·lar \ ˈsiŋ-gyə-lər \

Definition of singular for Students

1 : of, relating to, or being a word form used to show not more than one person or thing
  • The singular form of “calves” is “calf.”
2 : 1superior 2, exceptional
  • He showed singular poise.
3 : of unusual quality
  • We had a singular experience.
4 : strange 2, odd
  • A wind was rising and making a singular, wild, low, rushing sound.
  • —Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

2

singular

noun

Definition of singular for Students

: a form of a word used to show that only one person or thing is meant


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