Definition of singular in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsɪŋɡjʊlə/


1 Grammar (Of a word or form) denoting or referring to just one person or thing: the third person singular form of the verb
More example sentences
  • In American English, collective nouns usually take a singular verb.
  • There are other singular words for classes or units of people.
  • ‘Please inform the writers that the names of teams take the singular verb,’ he says.
1.1Single; unique: she always thought of herself as singular, as his only daughter
More example sentences
  • And because of this singular fact, every single published estimate of Social Security income and outgo is just plain wrong.
  • Is it now official Republican theology that tax breaks are the singular solution to every single problem there is?
  • Out of this dichotomous set of associations has emerged a constellation of forces, ideas, images and experiences which have defined both the city and rural zones in unique and singular ways.
2Exceptionally good or great; remarkable: he had the singular good fortune not to die in the trenches
More example sentences
  • They had a singular beauty, outstanding amongst the exotic growth of fern and ponga on the slopes below.
  • No one else does with available light what Godard does, which brings about a singular beauty.
  • Christmas, of course, is a special case, and Dunkeld Cathedral is a place of singular beauty, but the trend still needs some explanation.
remarkable, extraordinary, exceptional, outstanding, striking, signal, eminent, especial, particular, notable, noteworthy, conspicuous, distinctive, impressive;
rare, unique, unparalleled, unprecedented, superior, superlative, amazing, astonishing, phenomenal, astounding, sensational, spectacular
informal tremendous, awesome, fantastic, fabulous, terrific, stupendous, unreal
2.1Strange or eccentric in some respect: no explanation accompanied this rather singular statement
More example sentences
  • Barely are we into what is broadly described as ‘recovery’ than we see already a strange and singular characteristic.
  • He never strayed from the sinister, sensitive steps that marked his strange and singular songwriting path.
  • In one of the more bizarre twists in a truly singular career, August 1968 saw The Incredible String Band in upstate New York as part of the Woodstock festival.
strange, unusual, odd, peculiar, funny, curious, extraordinary, bizarre, eccentric, weird, queer, outlandish, offbeat, unexpected, unfamiliar, abnormal, aberrant, atypical, unconventional, out of the ordinary, off-centre, incongruous, unnatural, anomalous, untypical, puzzling, mystifying, mysterious, perplexing, baffling, unaccountable;
French outré
North American informal off the wall
3 Mathematics (Of a square matrix) having a zero determinant.
Example sentences
  • The matrix was not singular, as the interaction observed variables were not linearly dependent on the original observed variables.
  • The programs will not analyze data where the matrix is singular as it is not positive definite.
  • Using the MCMC method in Loki, if the number of iterations is too small, then it is more likely that the estimates of the IBD matrices will be singular.
4 Physics & Mathematics Relating to or of the nature of singularity.
Example sentences
  • Each spectrum was analyzed as a linear combination of basis fluorescence spectra using a singular value decomposition algorithm.


1A singular word or form.
Example sentences
  • This difference between the two constructions follows from the fact that bare plurals, but not indefinite singulars, are acceptable topics.
  • It will be noted that singulars far outnumber plurals, also that the cherished object is overwhelmingly associated with a speech act participant (mainly the addressee) rather than with a third party.
  • Keep up the good work, and watch out for collective singulars!
1.1 (the singular) The singular number: a word in the singular
More example sentences
  • Feminine contrasts with both masculine and neuter, not only in the nominative and accusative singular, but in the genitive and dative singular as well.
  • You may have noticed I said rod in the singular in that last paragraph, with good reason.
  • This refers back to the dialectical relationship between movements in the plural and a movement in the singular.


Middle English (in the sense 'solitary, single', also 'beyond the average'): from Old French singuler, from Latin singularis, from singulus (see single).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sin¦gu|lar

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