Definition of unit in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈyo͞onət/


1An individual thing or person regarded as single and complete but which can also form an individual component of a larger or more complex whole: the family unit large areas of land made up of smaller units the sentence as a unit of grammar
More example sentences
  • Together, these people form the components of a single unit.
  • There was another member to our family unit but he decided he preferred the pub and his single life than spending time with his family.
  • Sri Lankan Americans live in single family units without relatives, although relatives may migrate to the same community.
component, element, building block, constituent;
1.1A device that has a specified function, especially one forming part of a complex mechanism: the gearbox and transmission unit
More example sentences
  • The reason is that mechanical traction units are effective in nuclear disc lesions, and recurrence of pain after back surgery.
  • As the DSG gearbox is a mechanical unit, not a fuel sapping automatic type, fuel consumption is not adversely affected.
  • Meanwhile, dairies that employ mechanical refrigeration units can take note of recent advancements in those systems as well.
1.2A piece of furniture or equipment for fitting with others like it or made of complementary parts: a sink unit
More example sentences
  • It stocks all manner of furniture, from dressing tables and desks to entertainment units and bed bases.
  • The kitchen is fitted with maple units and display cabinets as well as a breakfast bar, while an adjoining conservatory area has a pitched glass ceiling and another set of patio doors.
  • Showers will have screens instead of curtains, there will be heated towel rails and versatile drawers, shelves, cupboards and desk units.
1.3A self-contained section of accommodations in a larger building or group of buildings: one- and two-bedroom units
More example sentences
  • He reports that the historically designated building will house units from 1,450 square feet to a massive 3,449 square feet over its five floors.
  • The junk of scaffolding at the bottom of the photo is actually the theatre itself - it's actually a self-contained unit within the building.
  • The scheme will also have offices, industrial units, shops, bars and restaurants.
1.4A part of an institution such as a hospital having a special function: the intensive care unit
More example sentences
  • Specifically excluded from this study were specimens obtained from intensive care units and emergency departments.
  • If several people in a unit or department want flexible schedules, it may not be feasible to accommodate all of them.
  • He said the new head of homicide is one of the best qualified officers of color in the department to run the unit.
1.5A subdivision of a larger military grouping: he returned to Germany with his unit
More example sentences
  • A legion was a military unit of the Roman army made up of infantry and supporting cavalry numbering three to six thousand men.
  • The initiative places reporters alongside military units on the front lines.
  • The Red Army used infantry and cavalry units to move more resolutely and to a deeper depth.
detachment, contingent, division, company, squadron, corps, regiment, brigade, platoon, battalion;
cell, faction
1.6An amount of educational instruction, typically determined by the number of hours spent in class: students take three compulsory core units
More example sentences
  • Those who complete the online course will receive 0.2 continuing education units.
  • Ganma entails more than including compulsory units of Aboriginal studies into the existing curriculum.
  • Continuing education units are available for many of the classes.
1.7An item manufactured: [as modifier]: unit cost
More example sentences
  • Rising car sales spread those high costs over more units, but battery manufacturing capacity is still constrained.
  • Relying too much on markets for either input supplies or sales outlets places the low unit cost of production that comes with economies of scale at risk.
  • This was designed to cut the high unit cost of producing milk during the four off season months when production is about one tenth of the peak summer volume.
1.8US A police car: he eased into his unit and flicked the siren on
2A quantity chosen as a standard in terms of which other quantities may be expressed: a unit of measurement fifty units of electricity
More example sentences
  • The 42-gallon barrel is still a standard unit of measurement in the oil industry, though.
  • The mean difference is expressed in terms of standard deviation units.
  • This is the antilog in terms of the original unit of measurement that defines the 50th percentile.
quantity, measure, denomination
3The number one.
3.1 (units) The digit before the decimal point in decimal notation, representing an integer less than ten.
Example sentences
  • In words, what we want is to chop off the units digit, multiply it by something suitable, then either add it to or subtract it from our truncated number.
  • The Romans represented units, tens, hundreds, and thousands as separate items in their numbers.
  • When writing an integer in decimal we use, essentially, a units column, a tens column, a hundreds column, a thousands column, and so on.


Late 16th century (as a mathematical term): from Latin unus, probably suggested by digit.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: u·nit

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