Word Origin & History
c.1300, "individual, unbroken, unmarried," from O.Fr. sengle "being one, separate," from L. singulus "one, individual, separate" (usually in pl. singuli "one by one"), from sim- (stem of simplus) + dim. suffix. Meaning "unaccompanied or unsupported by others" is from 1340. The verb meaning "to separate
from the herd" (originally in deer-hunting, often with forth or out) is recorded from 1575. Single-handed is first attested 1709. Single-parent (adj.) is attested from 1969.
1486, "the middle or outer claw on the foot of a hawk or falcon," from single
(adj.). Given various technical meanings from 16c. Sports sense is attested from 1851 (cricket), 1858 (baseball). Meaning "phonograph record with one song on each side" is from 1949. Meaning "unmarried
person" is from 1964; singles bar
attested from 1969. An earlier word for "unmarried or unattached person" is singleton (1937).