Definition of single in English:


Syllabification: sin·gle
Pronunciation: /ˈsiNGgəl


  • 1 [attributive] Only one; not one of several: a single red rose the kingdom was ruled over by a single family
    More example sentences
    • That may be true but remember those in a single income family face the same financial pressures as those with a double income.
    • Boredom among children is common in those families with a single child.
    • Now I keep trying to remind myself that some people are supporting whole families on a single income.
    one (only), sole, lone, solitary, by itself/oneself, unaccompanied, alone
  • 1.1Regarded separately or as distinct from each other or others in a group: she wrote down every single word it’s our single most popular beach
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    • They were talking to each other, but the engines were too loud to distinguish a single word from here.
    • Bryan and Kim had been silent, not saying a single word to each other the whole way back to Kim's house.
    • A person can communicate in so many ways without uttering a single word and they are understood clearly.
    individual, separate, distinct, particular, last
  • 1.2 [with negative] Even one (used for emphasis): they didn’t receive a single reply
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    • Yet when I tried to follow it up with a series of letters I never received a single reply.
    • Well, I never received a single reply from Nova, not even a form letter.
    • Sorry for those who fear censorship but there is not a single mention in the document of the right to reply to opinions.
  • 1.3Designed or suitable for one person: a single bed
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    • Tracey has had to move into her three-year-old daughter, Sophie's, room and share her single bed.
    • Finally they find a dodgy motel that has some space, but the proprietor tells them the only room left contains one single bed.
    • Cell-like, there is just room for a single bed, a desk and a chest of drawers.
  • 1.4 archaic Not accompanied or supported by others; alone.
    More example sentences
    • She was quite single and by herself.
  • 2Unmarried or not involved in a stable sexual relationship: a single mother
    More example sentences
    • Even unwed single mothers have said that they want more children than they have, even in an unwed state.
    • Being single after my last relationship has been a blessing.
    • One second I would remember that I had spent the last couple of months of our relationship wishing I was single.
    unmarried, unwed, unwedded, unattached, free, a bachelor, a spinster; partnerless, husbandless, wifeless; separated, divorced, widowed
    informal solo
  • 3 [attributive] Consisting of one part: the studio was a single large room
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    • My neighbour Hassan Sheikh lived on the terrace of his building, in a single room surrounded by cotes for his pigeons.
    • The project actually carried me a step closer to perfecting my single room living arrangement.
    • The main exhibition space occupies two of these boxes, but reads as a single room inside - it's a lot of effort for not much result.
  • 3.1British (Of a ticket) not valid for the return trip; one-way.
    More example sentences
    • First of all, it's the prices: £55.00 for a single ticket from Manchester to Norwich.
    • The £11 cash value of a single ticket was then removed, and the money was amassed over a long period of time.
    • Trouble is, single tickets are going up to £2.
  • 3.2(Of a flower) having only one whorl of petals.
    More example sentences
    • Flower form can be single, semi-double, or fully double blooms that look similar to miniature roses.
  • 3.3Denoting an alcoholic drink that consists of one measure of liquor: a single whiskey
    More example sentences
    • What we're talking about is a middy of beer, or a small glass of wine, or a single measure of spirits.
    • A single unit is half-a-pint of beer, a small glass of wine or a single measure of spirits.
  • 4 archaic Free from duplicity or deceit; ingenuous: a pure and single heart
    More example sentences
    • We must learn to have not only a clean and right heart but also a pure and single heart.


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  • 1An individual person or thing rather than part of a pair or a group.
    More example sentences
    • The end result is a photography of mythical proportions that is camouflaged in paint and operates in singles rather than multiples.
    • It is sold in singles for $5.95, with complete instructions to make the style of tassel shown here.
  • 1.1A short record or CD featuring one main one song or track.
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    • There may be thousands of vinyl singles and long-playing albums stacked on shelves in the radio's library - but the days of loading vinyl on to a turntable are long gone.
    • Fame is winning a televised talent show with a song, and then releasing a couple of singles and an album or two.
    • She has already notched up three top 10 singles and is currently recording her second album in London.
  • 1.2 (singles) People who are unmarried or not involved in a stable sexual relationship: [as modifier]: a singles bar
    More example sentences
    • The UK's singles want relationships that don't involve their partners actually moving in, a new BBC survey has revealed.
    • All the profiles are from real singles seeking sincere relationships and will always remain that way.
    • He has publish Ebooks and articles on psychology, singles, relationships and Popular Culture.
  • 1.3British A one-way ticket.
    More example sentences
    • I could have bought a single on the train.
  • 1.4A bedroom, especially in a hotel, that is suitable for one person.
    More example sentences
    • Upstairs two bedrooms are doubles and feature original cast iron fireplaces while the third bedroom is a single.
    • The second bedroom is a single with a built-in vanity unit and both of these rooms have en suite shower rooms.
    • The bedroom accommodation consists of two double bedrooms and a single.
  • 1.5A single measure of liquor.
    More example sentences
    • Last night a Wetherspoon spokesman admitted that offering doubles rather than singles was standard practice in all the company's pubs.
  • 1.6US informal A one-dollar bill.
    More example sentences
    • Do you have any singles?
  • 2 Baseball A hit that allows the batter to reach first base safely.
    More example sentences
    • The next batter hits a line-drive single to right past an outstretched second baseman.
    • The Yanks elected to intentionally walk Hunter, and a Koskie single loaded the bases.
    • He gave up a pair of singles to Hank Blalock and Michael Young leading off the inning before he was relieved by Troy Percival.
  • 3 (singles) (Especially in tennis and badminton) a game or competition for individual players, not pairs or teams.
    More example sentences
    • The result also keeps Scotland in contention for the coveted Leonard Trophy, awarded to the nation with the best overall-points total from the singles, pairs, triples and fours.
    • They would have loved to win the singles title rather than end up with another of those doubles titles.
    • With his exit from the men's singles yesterday another denizen of the baseline bit Wimbledon dust.


[with object] Back to top  
  • 1 (single someone/something out) Choose someone or something from a group for special treatment: one newspaper was singled out for criticism
    More example sentences
    • So approached, there is nothing in Mr Taylor's identity which singles him out for differential treatment.
    • It feels like we have been singled out for this treatment.
    • Viewed differently from German-Americans and Italian-Americans, Japanese residents were singled out for special treatment.
    select, pick out, choose, decide on; target, earmark, mark out, separate out, set apart/aside
  • 2 [no object] Baseball Hit a single: Aaron singled to center
    More example sentences
    • Millar greeted Clemens with a first-pitch homer to left-field, Nixon worked a walk, and Bill Mueller singled to center as Nixon took third.
    • When Tony Womack escaped a full count by singling to center with two outs, I figured Jim Tracy would cue Gagne, but he let Lima press onward against the dangerous Walker.
    • D Johnson singled to right center, J Payton to third.
  • 2.1 (single in) [with object] Cause (a run) to be scored by hitting a single: they each singled in a run
    More example sentences
    • The next night, he hit a pair of two-run homers and singled home the winning run in the eighth inning.
    • In the home sixth inning, Yaz tied the game with a two-run single and Harrelson singled home the lead run.
    • At Cleveland, pinch-hitter Victor Martinez singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, leading Cleveland past Cincinnati.
  • 2.2 [with object] Advance (a runner) by hitting a single.
    More example sentences
    • Reyes scored three runs and stole two bases, and his triple in the seventh inning tied the score before Carlos Beltran singled him home with the go-ahead run.
    • Matsui finally gained some redemption in the fifth, singling home Williams from second after the Yankee centerfielder had doubled.
    • Let's say the Angels have Darin Erstad on second base and one out when Tim Salmon singles him home in the eighth inning, breaking a 2-2 tie.



More example sentences
  • We would not want immediate access, purity, singleness, even if we could find it.
  • My continued singleness and ever increasing incapability to even approach a prospective partner will ensure that I die old and lonely unless some kind person is willing to take pity on me.
  • Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin singulus, related to simplus 'simple'.

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