Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Being the only one of its kind: the unique existing example of Donne's handwriting.
  • adj. Without an equal or equivalent; unparalleled.
  • adj. Characteristic of a particular category, condition, or locality: a problem unique to coastal areas.
  • adj. Informal Unusual; extraordinary: spoke with a unique accent.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Being the only one of its kind; unequaled, unparalleled or unmatched.
  • adj. Of a feature, such that only one holder has it.
  • adj. Of a rare quality.
  • adj. Unusual.
  • n. A thing without a like; something unequalled or unparallelled.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Being without a like or equal; unmatched; unequaled; unparalleled; single in kind or excellence; sole.
  • n. A thing without a like; something unequaled or unparalleled.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In mathematics, unambiguous and singly determinate.
  • Only; single.
  • Having no like or equal; unmatched; sole; unequaled; single in its kind or excellence: often used relatively, and then signifying rare, unusual.
  • n. A unique thing; a thing unparalleled or sole of its kind.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. the single one of its kind
  • adj. highly unusual or rare but not the single instance
  • adj. radically distinctive and without equal
  • adj. (followed by `to') applying exclusively to a given category or condition or locality

Etymologies

French, from Old French, from Latin ūnicus.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French unique. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • To use advertising copywriters as any kind of benchmark for educated grammar, let alone literacy, would be downright laughable if it weren't so absurd. Today's copywriters inspire an imaginary essay title: "How Has Advertising Copy Gotten so Rotten?" I see their faux pas every day, including a Travelers Insurance TV commercial that displayed the company's tagline, "In-synch." The hyphen is misplaced, unless we think comparable phrases should be hyphenated all of a sudden, such as "in-tune" or "in-place." It's a verb phrase, not a compound noun. While any absence of grammatical grace in ad copy often can be attributed to the "creative" staff's penchant to go for attention-getting effect, the "in-synch" example doesn't accomplish anything that a corrected, hyphen-less display wouldn't also effect, so the only conclusion is that nobody -- NOBODY -- at the agency or client was exactly an honors English student and can't distinguish between a verb phrase and a noun. As a copywriter would say, "Amazing!"

    July 6, 2009

  • "The divine is God's concern; the human, man's. My concern is neither the divine nor the human, not the true, good, just, free, etc., but solely what is mine, and it is not a general one, but is -- unique, as I am unique. Nothing is more to me than myself!"
    - Max Stirner, The Ego and His Own

    March 29, 2009

  • Remember, you're unique. Just like everyone else.

    July 20, 2008

  • "...now stay in your seat and finish your dinner. The grownups are trying to talk."

    December 19, 2007

  • Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.�?

    December 18, 2007

  • A number of cosmic significance? Herald the horsemen!!

    April 20, 2007

  • How's this for unique: At three minutes and four seconds after 0200 hours (2:00 AM) on the 6th of May this year (2007) the time and date will be 02:03:04 05/06/07 (American notation).

    April 20, 2007

  • Cheers to that! Uniqueness is inmeasureable....

    January 13, 2007

  • Listen up, peeps. Unique means "unparalleled, one of a kind". So, something is either unique or it isn't. It's never is "most unique" or "very unique" or "pretty unique". Uniqueness cannot be qualified. If you ever feel compelled to do so, you are probably searching for the word "unusual" instead.

    December 2, 2006