Meaning of “sole” in the English Dictionary

"sole" in British English

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soleadjective [ before noun ]

uk /səʊl/ us /soʊl/

C1 being one only; single:

My sole objective is to make the information more widely available.
The sole survivor of the accident was found in the water after six hours.

C1 not shared with anyone else:

She has sole responsibility for the project.
I have sole charge of both children all day.

More examples

solenoun [ C ]

uk /səʊl/ us /soʊl/

soleverb [ T ]

uk /səʊl/ us /soʊl/

(Definition of “sole” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"sole" in American English

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soleadjective [ not gradable ]

us /soʊl/

sole adjective [ not gradable ] (ONLY)

being the only one; single:

She is the sole survivor of the accident.

Sole also means belonging to one person or group:

The team moved into sole possession of first place.
adverb [ not gradable ] us /ˈsoʊl·li/

These industries aren’t solely responsible for hazardous wastes.


us /soʊl/


[ C ] the bottom part of a foot which touches the ground when you stand or walk, or the front part of the bottom of a shoe:

shoes with leather/rubber soles

sole noun (FISH)

[ C/U ] plural sole a flat, round fish that is eaten as food

(Definition of “sole” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"sole" in Business English

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soleadjective [ before noun ]

uk /səʊl/ us

being the only one:

Investment trusts are companies whose sole business is investing.
sole owner/director A company which has a sole director is required to have another person as its company secretary.
The deal makes the bank the company's sole agent in the region.
The University is North America's sole supplier of an antibiotic to treat tuberculosis.

not shared with anyone else:

UK employers are far too powerful to accept sole responsibility for employees' pensions.

(Definition of “sole” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)