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From Anglo-Norman several, from Medieval Latin sēparālis, from Latin sēpar (separate).


  • IPA(key): /ˈsɛv(ə)ɹəl/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: sev‧er‧al, seve‧ral



  1. (obsolete) Separate, distinct; particular. [15th-19th century]
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar:
      Here is the will, and under Caesar's seal. To every Roman citizen he gives, to every several man, seventy-five drachmas.
    • 1603, John Florio, transl.; Michel de Montaigne, chapter 42, in The Essayes, [], book I, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount [], OCLC 946730821:
      He had a religion apart: a God severall unto himselfe, whom his subjects might no waies adore.
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, 1624, OCLC 54573970, (please specify |partition=1, 2, or 3):
      , II.i.4.2:
      So one thing may be good and bad to several parties, upon diverse occasions.
    • 1852, Washington Irving, Tales from the Alhambra:
      the hearts of the three cavaliers were completely captured, especially as gratitude was added to their admiration; it is a little singular, however, though no less certain, that each of them was enraptured with a several beauty.
    • (Can we date this quote by Dryden?)
      Each several ship a victory did gain.
    • (Can we date this quote by Alexander Pope?)
      Each might his several province well command, / Would all but stoop to what they understand.
  2. A number of different; various. (Now merged into later senses, below) [from 16th century]
    • 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, act 3, scene 1
      [] for several virtues / Have I lik'd several women; never any / With so full soul but some defect in her / Did quarrel with the noblest grace she ow'd, / And put it to the foil [].
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
      Hence arose a dispute between the learned men, in which each delivered the reasons of their several opinions.
    • (Can we date this quote by Francis Bacon?)
      habits and faculties, several, and to be distinguished
    • Dryden
      Four several armies to the field are led.
  3. Consisting of a number more than two but not very many; diverse. [from 17th century]
    • 1784, William Jones, The Description and Use of a New Portable Orrery, &c., preface:
      The favourable reception the Orrery has met with from Perſons of the firſt diſtinction, and from Gentlemen and Ladies in general, has induced me to add to it ſeveral new improvements in order to give it a degree of Perfection; and diſtinguiſh it from others ; which by Piracy, or Imitation, may be introduced to the Public.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 14, in The China Governess[1]:
      Just under the ceiling there were three lunette windows, heavily barred and blacked out in the normal way by centuries of grime. Their bases were on a level with the pavement outside, a narrow way which was several feet lower than the road behind the house.
    • 2004, The Guardian, 6 November:
      Several people were killed and around 150 injured after a high-speed train hit a car on a level crossing and derailed tonight.
    • 2013 June 8, “Obama goes troll-hunting”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8839, page 55:
      The solitary, lumbering trolls of Scandinavian mythology would sometimes be turned to stone by exposure to sunlight. Barack Obama is hoping that several measures announced on June 4th will have a similarly paralysing effect on their modern incarnation, the patent troll.

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See alsoEdit


several (not comparable)

  1. By itself; severally.
    • Robynson (More's Utopia)
      Every kind of thing is laid up several in barns or storehouses.


several (plural severals)

  1. (obsolete) An area of land in private ownership (as opposed to common land).
  2. Each particular taken singly; an item; a detail; an individual. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  3. (archaic) An enclosed or separate place; enclosure. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  4. (archaic) A woman's loose outer garment, capable of being worn as a shawl, or in other forms.



Old FrenchEdit


several m (oblique and nominative feminine singular severale)

  1. separate



several m (oblique plural severaus or severax or severals, nominative singular severaus or severax or severals, nominative plural several)

  1. one's own property or possession

Related termsEdit