from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Having no equal; peerless.
  • noun A person or thing that has no equal; a paragon.
  • noun A small, flat chocolate drop covered with white pellets of sugar.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Having no equal; peerless.
  • noun A person or thing of peerless excellence; a nonesuch; something regarded as unique in its kind.
  • noun Specifically— In ornithology:
  • noun The pointed finch or painted bunting, Passerina or Cyanospiza ciris: so called from its beauty. The top and sides of the head and neck are rich-blue, the back golden-green, the rump and under parts vermilion-red. The female is greenish above, yellowish below. The bird is about 5½ inches long, and common in the South Atlantic and Gulf States, especially Louisiana, where it is sometimes called pape or pope. It is a near relative of the indigo-bird and the lazuli-finch. Also called incomparable.
  • noun The rose- or rosella-parrakeet, Platycercus eximius: so called from its beauty. See cut under rosella.
  • noun In conchology, a gastropod of the genus Clausilia.
  • noun In printing, a size of type, forming about 12 lines to the inch. In the American system of sizes it is intermediate between minion (larger) and agate (smaller); in the English system it is between the sizes emerald (larger) and ruby (smaller). (The type of this paragraph is nonpareil.)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Having no equal; peerless.
  • noun Something of unequaled excellence; a peerless thing or person; a nonesuch; -- often used as a name.
  • noun (Print.) A size of type next smaller than minion and next larger than agate (or ruby).
  • noun A beautifully colored finch (Passerina ciris), native of the Southern United States. The male has the head and neck deep blue, rump and under parts bright red, back and wings golden green, and the tail bluish purple. Called also painted bunting and painted finch.
  • noun Any other similar bird of the same genus.
  • noun (Cookery) A small sphere, less than 1 mm diamter, of colored sugar, used to decorate confections; -- usually used in the plural as though the name of a substance.
  • noun A type of candy chocolate consisting of a small flat disk of chocolate, less than one inch diameter, having nonpareils{4} sprinkled on the top.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A person or thing that has no equal; a paragon.
  • noun A small pellet of colored sugar used as decoration on baked goods and candy.
  • noun A small, flat chocolate drop covered with white pellets of sugar, similar to a comfit.
  • noun obsolete (printing) A type size; nonpareille.

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

  • noun model of excellence or perfection of a kind; one having no equal
  • noun colored beads of sugar used as a topping on e.g. candies and cookies
  • noun a flat disk of chocolate covered with beads of colored sugar
  • adjective eminent beyond or above comparison


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

[Middle English nounparalle, from Old French nonpareil : non-, non- + pareil, equal (from Vulgar Latin *pariculus, diminutive of Latin pār, equal; see perə- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French nonpareil ("unparalleled") (obsolete in French), from non- + pareil.


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  • NOUN: A person or thing so excellent as to have no equal or match: nonesuch, paragon, phoenix. See GOOD.

    ADJECTIVE: Without equal or rival: alone, incomparable, matchless, only, peerless, singular, unequaled, unexampled, unique, unmatched, unparalleled, unrivaled. See SAME.

    April 18, 2007

  • An obsolete name for the Varied Bunting.

    December 8, 2007

  • I don't think it's nice to make birds into tacky coloured flags for used-car lots.

    December 8, 2007

  • What? I thought they were those little round chocolates with white nubbles on them.


    *rattles head*

    December 8, 2007

  • Truffles?

    December 8, 2007

  • No, these!

    December 8, 2007

  • And what are they? In Australia we would call them buttons ... that's a start. The white things resemble a fungal infection from Fascinating Malaysian Toe Amputation Manual - Director's Cut. IF they were coloured, and tasted like nothing but the sweet delinquence of sugar and decadence in a tiny ball, we would call them hundreds and thousands.

    December 8, 2007

  • Besides, I really don't think we can proceed without a comment from uselessness, who typically has a uselessness thing to say.

    December 8, 2007

  • Well, I--

    You're right, of course. We'll wait for uselessness.


    *tapping foot*

    December 8, 2007

  • Bilby: in Ireland we call them (the hideous chocolate candy thingies) buttons as well, though I don't know anyone who actually eats them, since they generally consist of cheap milk chocolate, rendered completely unpalatable by the grittiness of the white things.

    We also use hundreds and thousands to designate what Americans call sprinkles or jimmies. However, the brand of hundreds and thousands I am most familiar with actually contains spheres covering a distribution of sizes, generally including some larger balls with a kind of metallic tint.

    Somewhat like this picture:

    hundreds and thousands

    Typically, the layer of whipped cream atop a trifle is sprinkled with hundreds and thousands before serving.

    December 8, 2007

  • I LOVE those nonpareil button thingies! But then, I also love Sweetarts, so I would hardly say that my taste in sweets is refined.

    December 8, 2007

  • Oh my gosh, I forgot all about hundreds and thousands! It struck me as one of the oddest things I'd ever heard. Also, sionnach... did you purposely go and find a picture that has cookies (biscuits) with something atop them that resembles... ahem... fecal matter?

    My brother used to use this extruding device thingie to make chocolate-batter cookies. He called (calls) them turd cookies. The recipe doesn't call for hundreds and thousands at all, though.

    December 8, 2007

  • Okay, I'm not waiting for uselessness anymore. ;-)

    I just discovered (and posted on the hundreds and thousands page) that the term nonpareil originally applied to the little white balls on the round chocolate discs, not the chocolate discs themselves. Fascinating.

    My dad loves those things--or at least he used to. Maybe he's just humoring us now when we buy them for him.

    December 9, 2007

  • I still don't like the picture. My mother would say something like 'mini cow pats with dandruff".

    December 9, 2007

  • Then your mother clearly needs to be on Wordie.

    December 9, 2007

  • Am I the only one who thought sionnach's picture looked tasty?

    And those chocolate buttons with the hundreds and thousands? They're only called buttons when they're dodgy, cheap as chips brand. When they're, say, Allen's brand, they're called freckles. And that's good chocolate, they're very tasty.

    July 20, 2008

  • Reminds me of... Chocolates and frozen green tea yogurt!

    August 18, 2008