Definition of singleton in English:



  • 1A single person or thing of the kind under consideration.

    ‘splitting the clumps of plants into singletons’
    • ‘The variation found was due mainly to unique changes in single plants (singletons).’
    1. 1.1[often as modifier]A child or animal born singly, rather than one of a multiple birth.
      ‘singleton boys’
      • ‘During the study, more than 900,000 live singleton births were recorded, giving an incidence of four per 1,000 live infants born with a short umbilical cord.’
      • ‘While the chance of a cesarean delivery is higher in twin than in singleton births, about half of women expecting twins can have a normal vaginal delivery.’
      • ‘This matching is considered 99% accurate for singletons, but for twins it is reliable only at the level of the pair: which twin is admitted cannot be identified with certainty.’
      • ‘Of the 322,704 live singleton births during the study period, 8,938 were linked to a motor vehicle crash during pregnancy.’
      • ‘The intrauterine environment is also different in multiple pregnancy compared with singleton pregnancy.’
    2. 1.2informal A person who is not married or in a long-term relationship.
      • ‘Instead, the writers present new twists on parenting with liberal doses of wry humor that even singletons will enjoy.’
      • ‘Another stumbling block for singletons to consider is the mortgage market.’
      • ‘But for single women, especially singletons of a certain age, time is marching on.’
      • ‘The sample included people in both long and short relationships as well as singletons.’
      • ‘To her credit, Mehta did a crack job depicting the occasionally colourless quality of life as an ageing singleton.’
      • ‘The play is set up to be a microcosm of relationships; a mirror in which those in love can see themselves and those singletons out there can indulge their yearnings for romance.’
      • ‘And 1.95 million single women live in New York City - the Mecca of singletons - alone.’
      • ‘Despite being a happily married woman she has the fridge of a singleton.’
      • ‘Calling all desperate, lonely singletons - this is the biggest news of the year for you lot.’
      • ‘And now we have unhappy married women who, despite what all singletons would think, are equally stressed to death from trying to have the marriage, the children and the great job.’
      • ‘Her job is so much fun, she said, and time-consuming, too, that she has postponed ending her days as a singleton, also fodder for the cynicism and suspicion of others.’
      • ‘Of course for some there is a happy ending, and the office singletons have to narrow their search.’
      • ‘At tonight's game there don't seem to be any singletons on the prowl, but there are three couples on the ice.’
      • ‘So come on you singletons, bite the bullet and get flirting!’
      • ‘This totally non-profit venture will bring singletons together for a night of frivolity.’
      • ‘Most of the singletons I know in LA confirm that relationships last about three months, just about a TV season.’
      • ‘Both singletons and those in a relationship are more independent than ever before.’
      • ‘As the unattached singleton with married mates there is a tendency to lament the demise of your once action-packed social life.’
      • ‘In the film, Smith plays a New York date doctor who helps lonely singletons find love and romance.’
      • ‘For the first time ever, the carefree singleton is halted in their tracks and becomes yet another addition to the truly miserable list.’
    3. 1.3(in card games, especially bridge) a card that is the only one of its suit in a hand.
      ‘declarer drew trumps, finding that West had a singleton’
      [as modifier] ‘a singleton spade’
      • ‘This card may be either a singleton or a top card or subsequently revealed card in a stack.’
      • ‘If you have a singleton or void suit, you take a big risk that the declarer will find lots of cards of this suit in the talon when he exchanges, and your partner's stop in the suit might not be enough to beat the contract.’
    4. 1.4Logic Mathematics A set which contains exactly one element.
      ‘Lewis argues that the relation of a singleton to its only member is mysterious’
      • ‘The set-theorist Ernst Zermelo proposed that the number is the empty set and for each number n, the successor of n is the singleton of n, so that 1 is, 2 is, 3 is, etc.’


Late 19th century: from single, on the pattern of simpleton.