I feel like this is on the tip of my tongue. What is the adjective for describing something as composing of a single part? e.g. "Your goals need not be [composed of a single part]."

Some possibilities that don't particularly ring true for me:

Homogeneous: I get the sense that "homogeneous" describes the qualia of a mixture, but the context I'm using it is not describing a mixture.

Monolith: This word's connotation seems to be more about the size of the object, not the composition of it.

Simple: This is the mathematical word for what I'm looking to describe, but this is a pretty technical and overloaded word that doesn't suit a layman audience, so I'm not inclined to use it.

  • 1
    Hmm, what about 'singular'? – Řídící Jul 14 '18 at 18:47
  • simplex, monolithic, unifaceted, uniform, aligned – Colin Jul 14 '18 at 19:30
  • powerthesaurus.org/indivisible – amdn Jul 14 '18 at 22:15
  • Monolithic is not about size unless you are talking about stone. – stevesliva Jul 17 '18 at 2:50

I was thinking about singular, as mentioned in a comment, but, for me anyway, it produced an odd association when I used it in the sentence. (Both because of the fact that singular seems to clash with the plural word goals and because of its other sense of unique.)

What's needed is something that's an unambiguous "single" version of multifaceted.

Although it's not as common a word, I think a more suitable adjective (with a specific single sense—yes, that could be a pun) is unary:


: having, consisting of, or acting on a single element, item, or component : MONADIC

In other words:

Your goals need not be unary.

While it seems to fit the exact meaning you're looking for, my only concern is that it may not also fit the layperson audience you describe.

Having said that, if you are amendable to having your example sentence rephrased, it would be more natural to say:

Your goals need not serve a single purpose.

However, this does move the adjective from goals to the added word purpose.

| improve this answer | |
  • 'unitary' is better here than 'unary'. – AmI Oct 29 '18 at 22:54

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