• synonyms


[sev-er-uh l, sev-ruh l]
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  1. being more than two but fewer than many in number or kind: several ways of doing it.
  2. respective; individual: They went their several ways.
  3. separate; different: several occasions.
  4. single; particular.
  5. Law. binding two or more persons who may be sued separately on a common obligation.
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  1. several persons or things; a few; some.
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Origin of several

1375–1425; late Middle English < Anglo-French < Medieval Latin sēparālis, equivalent to Latin sēpar separate + -ālis -al1
Can be confusedcouple pair several (see synonym study at pair)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for several

any, certain, considerable, definite, different, disparate, distinct, diverse, handful, indefinite, individual, infrequent, manifold, many, numerous, particular, personal, plural, proportionate, rare

Examples from the Web for several

Contemporary Examples of several

Historical Examples of several

  • For several weeks, there was no apparent change in Philothea's health or spirits.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • The country is very dry, and I should think there has not been any rain for several months.

  • Windich and I fired our revolvers at them several times, and chased them up the hill.

  • Many tracks were seen, following mine and Windich's for several miles.

  • I have been acquainted with her character and actions for several years.

British Dictionary definitions for several


    1. more than a few; an indefinite small numberseveral people objected
    2. (as pronoun; functioning as plural)several of them know
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  1. (prenominal) various; separatethe members with their several occupations
  2. (prenominal) distinct; differentthree several times
  3. law capable of being dealt with separately; not sharedCompare joint (def. 15)
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Word Origin for several

C15: via Anglo-French from Medieval Latin sēparālis, from Latin sēpār, from sēparāre to separate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for several


early 15c., "existing apart," from Anglo-French several, from Middle French seperalis "separate," from Medieval Latin separalis, from Latin separ "separate, different," back-formation from separare "to separate" (see separate (v.)). Meaning "various, diverse, different" is attested from c.1500; that of "more than one" is from 1530s, originally in legal use.

Here we are all, by day; by night we're hurled
By dreams, each one into a several world
[Herrick, 1648]

Related: Severalty. Jocular ordinal form severalth attested from 1902 in American English dialect (see -th (2)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper