Definition of unique in English:


Line breaks: unique
Pronunciation: /juːˈniːk



archaic Back to top  
  • A unique person or thing: some of Lamb’s writings were so memorably beautiful as to be uniques in their class
    More example sentences
    • One of Quebec's best-known impressionist painters, Sammoun is represented in the United States by Marco Fine Art of El Segundo, Calif., which also publishes the artist's hand-painted uniques in editions of 200 pieces on canvas.
    • The second-order jackknife estimator incorporates the number of uniques, duplicates, and the number of quadrats sampled.
    • Sammoun's limited editions are hand-painted uniques in editions of 100, plus proofs.



[as submodifier]: a uniquely British quality
More example sentences
  • Does he truly believe his opinion is of any uniquely special value?
  • Whatever the reason, Jeremy says, northern dialects remain uniquely distinctive.
  • The governments of states were said to be uniquely powerful for two reasons.


More example sentences
  • Because of the uniqueness of each individual, what is pleasurable for one person may not be for another.
  • In spite of this, the actors themselves bring creativity and uniqueness to their characters.
  • Yes, it can be an empowering feeling to walk amongst the everyday people and project your uniqueness.


early 17th century: from French, from Latin unicus, from unus 'one'.


There is a set of adjectives—including unique, complete, equal, infinite, and perfect—whose core meaning embraces a mathematically absolute concept and which therefore, according to a traditional argument, cannot be modified by adverbs such as really, quite, or very. For example, since the core meaning of unique (from Latin ‘one’) is ‘being only one of its kind’, it is logically impossible, the argument goes, to submodify it: it either is ‘unique’ or it is not, and there are no in-between stages. In practice the situation in the language is more complex than this. Words like unique have a core sense but they often also have a secondary, less precise sense: in this case, the meaning ‘very remarkable or unusual’, as in a really unique opportunity . In its secondary sense, unique does not relate to an absolute concept, and so the use of submodifying adverbs is grammatically acceptable.

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