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every single one

Every individual person or item within a group, without exception. This is going to be the hardest game we've played all year, so I need every single one of you giving it everything you've got! I can't believe it, every single one of these dishes has been broken!
See also: every, one, single

at a (single) stroke

All at once, with a single decisive or powerful action. When the economy crashed, thousands of people lost their jobs, their homes, and their pensions at a single stroke. As the two leaders ratified the treaty, 10 years of civil war ended at a stroke.
See also: stroke

at a (single) blow

All at once, with a single decisive or powerful action. When the economy crashed, thousands of people lost their jobs, their homes, and their pensions at a single blow. As the two leaders ratified the treaty, 10 years of civil war ended at a blow.
See also: blow

a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

A daunting task can usually be started by doing a simple thing. I'm feeling really overwhelmed about my research project, but I have to start somewhere, since a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

*in (a) single file

Fig. lined up, one behind the other; in a line, one person or one thing wide. (*Typically: be ~; get [into] ~; march ~; walk ~.) Have you ever seen ducks walking in single file? Please get into single file. Please march in single file.
See also: file, single

of a single mind

(about someone or something) Go to of one mind (about someone or something).
See also: mind, of, single

of one mind (about someone or something)

 and of a single mind (about someone or something)
in agreement about someone or something. You will have to attend one of the state universities. Your father and I are of a single mind about this.
See also: mind, of, one

single file

a line of things or people, one person or one thing wide. (See also in single file.) Please get into single file. You have to march single file.
See also: file, single

single someone or something out (for something)

to choose or pick someone or something for something; to select an eligible person or thing for something. The committee singled her out for a special award. We singled out Liz for special honors.
See also: out, single

of one mind

also of the same mind
in agreement We're of one mind on most political issues.
See also: mind, of, one

single out somebody/something

also single somebody/something out
to choose someone or something for special attention Rosa was singled out by the teacher because her art project was so creative. I don't know why they singled it out, but my report was severely criticized at the meeting.
See also: out, single

each and every one

Also, every last one; every single one. Every individual in a group, as in Each and every student must register by tomorrow, or I've graded every last one of the exams, or Every single one of his answers was wrong. All of these phrases are generally used for emphasis. The first, although seemingly redundant, has replaced all and every, first recorded in 1502. The first variant dates from the late 1800s, and both it and the second are widely used. Also see every tom, dick, and harry. Every mother's son (late 1500s) and every man Jack (mid-1800s) are earlier versions that refer only to males.
See also: and, each, every, one

single file, in

Also, in Indian file. Aligned one behind the other, as in We have to bike in single file here, or The children were told to march in Indian file. Both usages are associated with military formations; the first term was first recorded in 1670; the variant, alluding to the usual marching order of Native Americans, was first recorded in 1758.
See also: single

single out

Choose or distinguish from others, as in We singled him out from all the other applicants. This idiom was first recorded in 1629.
See also: out, single

single out

To choose or distinguish someone or something from others: We singled her out from the list of applicants because she had a college degree. Unable to determine who had committed the offense, the teacher singled out the most mischievous student for punishment.
See also: out, single


1. n. one dollar; a dollar bill. I don’t have enough singles in the register to get me through the morning.
2. n. an unmarried person. (Usually plural.) I’m holding a little party for singles.
References in classic literature ?
The other, however, dealt a single blow with his cruel tail that laid both of the females crushed corpses upon the ground.
With their single eyes in the centre of their heads and every eye turned upon their prey, they did not note my soundless approach, so that I was upon them with my great long-sword and four of them lay dead ere they knew that I was among them.
A single sweeping circle of my own blade caught the flying weapon and hurled it clattering against the far wall, and then, as I sidestepped my antagonist's impetuous rush, I let him have my point full in the stomach as he hurtled by.
In disgust I desisted from my useless efforts and stepped to the chamber's single window.
Once the woman turned her face upward toward the falling flier, and in the single swift glance Carthoris saw that it was Thuvia of Ptarth!
But not a single person appeared to be in the room.
I felt that if she could return to her own kind with the story of her adventures, the position of the human race within Pellucidar would be advanced immensely at a single stride, for at once man would take his proper place in the considerations of the reptilia.
Slowly he groped his way along, feeling with his hands upon the tunnel's walls, and cautiously with his feet ahead of him upon the floor before he could take a single forward step.
But bear in mind that you will be shot if you make a single move to attack me or any other aboard the ship.
It were foolish to lose a single man needlessly if there be no hope of success.
A single trait of feeling, taken from many others, will serve to show the point which this homage of a whole people to a single individual attained.
One fly deposits hundreds of eggs, and another, like the hippobosca, a single one; but this difference does not determine how many individuals of the two species can be supported in a district.
Now there are enormous areas in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, in which every single island is of coral formation, and is raised only to that height to which the waves can throw up fragments, and the winds pile up sand.
Generally each play was presented by a single guild (though sometimes two or three guilds or two or three plays might be combined), and sometimes, though not always, there was a special fitness in the assignment, as when the watermen gave the play of Noah's Ark or the bakers that of the Last Supper.
Richard Swiveller, therefore, sticking a pen behind each ear, and carrying another in his mouth as a token of his great importance and devotion to business, hurried out to meet and treat with the single gentleman.