[sev-er-uh l, sev-ruh l]


being more than two but fewer than many in number or kind: several ways of doing it.
respective; individual: They went their several ways.
separate; different: several occasions.
single; particular.
Law. binding two or more persons who may be sued separately on a common obligation.


several persons or things; a few; some.

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) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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


(prenominal) various; separatethe members with their several occupations
(prenominal) distinct; differentthree several times
law capable of being dealt with separately; not sharedCompare joint (def. 15)

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)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper