Origin of single

1275–1325; late Middle English (adj.), Middle English sengle < Old French < Latin singulus individual, single (usually in the plural singuli one apiece), derivative of *sem- one (see simplex)

Related forms

qua·si-sin·gle, adjectivequa·si-sin·gly, adverbun·sin·gle, adjective

Can be confused

signal singlesingle singular
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for single

British Dictionary definitions for single


/ (ˈsɪŋɡəl) /

adjective (usually prenominal)



See also singles

Derived Forms

singleness, noun

Word Origin for single

C14: from Old French sengle, from Latin singulus individual
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

Idioms and Phrases with single


In addition to the idioms beginning with single

  • single file, in
  • single out

also see:

  • each and every (every single)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.