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To choose and focus on a single person or thing out of a group of others. A noun or pronoun can be used between "single" and "out." They singled out her project from all the other applicants for its creative and ingenious design. For some reason, the bullies keep singling me out to pick on each day.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Choose or distinguish from others, as in We singled him out from all the other applicants. This idiom was first recorded in 1629.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.