sin·gu·lar | \ ˈsiŋ-gyə-lər \

Definition of singular 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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

5a 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



Definition of singular (Entry 2 of 2)

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

2 : a singular term

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from singular


singularly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of singular in a Sentence


In the phrase “his car is red,” the word “car” is a singular noun. He had a singular appearance.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Diplomats say Trump's singular focus on the 2 percent benchmark might be counterproductive. Gregory Korte, USA TODAY, "As he arrives at NATO summit, President Trump hounds allies over 'delinquent' defense spending," 10 July 2018 And at the end of the day, this could be his most singular accomplishment as president. Fox News, "Ex-sailor pardoned by Trump reacts to new Clinton probe documents," 3 July 2018 The spacecraft has traveled all this way to a small asteroid, named Ryugu, for a singular purpose: to collect a piece of it and bring it back to Earth. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Japanese Sample Return Spacecraft Reaches Target Asteroid," 27 June 2018 At the same time, voices throughout NATO are questioning whether Trump’s singular focus on the bottom line is doing more to hurt the alliance than to help it. Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, "Trump wants all of NATO spending 2 percent on defense. But is it so simple?," 10 July 2018 The wines have a singular style that places them somewhere between the robustness of most Napa Chardonnays and the nuanced flavors of white Burgundy. Bruce Schoenfeld, WIRED, "Your Next Glass of Wine Might Be a Fake—and You'll Love It," 30 May 2018 The highlight of the show is a spacious room toward the end containing a panoply of ikat coats, dyed with singular style and featuring ornate linings of Russian cotton and Indian chintz. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "How the Technicolor Ikat Designs of Central Asia Thread Into Textile History," 26 Mar. 2018 From shoulder-grazing drop earrings and mismatched pairs to asymmetrical singular styles and oversized hoops, statement earrings have been trending for the past few seasons – and are showing no signs of slowing down this spring. Kami Phillips,, "Resin Earrings Are the Only Accessory You Need to Buy for Spring," 20 Mar. 2018 The format’s 16-year run featured blowouts and nail-biting finishes in almost equal measure, but every champion had some singular performance that helped make the difference. Ben Ladner,, "The 10 Best National Championship Game Performances of the BCS Era," 13 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of singular


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for singular


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about singular

Phrases Related to singular

the singular

Statistics for singular

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for singular

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for singular



English Language Learners Definition of singular

grammar : showing or indicating no more than one thing

: better or greater than what is usual or normal

: strange or odd


sin·gu·lar | \ ˈsiŋ-gyə-lər \

Kids Definition of singular

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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 : superior entry 1 sense 2, exceptional He showed singular poise.

3 : of unusual quality We had a singular experience.

4 : strange sense 2, odd A wind was rising and making a singular, wild, low, rushing sound. —Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden



Kids Definition of singular (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on singular

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for singular

Spanish Central: Translation of singular

Nglish: Translation of singular for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of singular for Arabic Speakers

Comments on singular

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


the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!