Why was clemency trending last week?


[sev-er-uh l, sev-ruh l] /ˈsɛv ər əl, ˈsɛv rəl/
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
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Anglo-French < Medieval Latin sēparālis, equivalent to Latin sēpar separate + -ālis -al1
Can be confused
couple, pair, several (see synonym study at pair) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for several
  • He was accused of corruption in several court cases.
  • But the formula for deep ocean blue is rare, occurring in only one out of every several hundred thousand diamonds.
  • His illustrations complement her accounts of first meetings between notables from the past several centuries.
  • But several clever experiments have tested people's memory immediately after a tragedy and again several months or years later.
  • Weighing up to several tons, whale sharks are also notable for their markings.
  • Those looking to purchase a real tree have several options.
  • Its shell can end up several feet down, with only its neck poking up into the water.
  • Then they begin to taper off, diminishing in frequency over the next several days.
  • several sources say that as long as the foil is tightly sealed, you can run a full load of dishes with detergent.
  • The best way to learn what a successful last page piece is, and how it works, is to study several of them.
British Dictionary definitions for several


  1. more than a few; an indefinite small number: several people objected
  2. (as pronoun; functioning as plural): several of them know
(prenominal) various; separate: the members with their several occupations
(prenominal) distinct; different: three several times
(law) capable of being dealt with separately; not shared Compare joint (sense 15)
Word Origin
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
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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
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