Definitions

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

  • noun A fabled creature symbolic of virginity and usually represented as a horse with a single straight spiraled horn projecting from its forehead.
  • noun Heraldry A representation of this beast, having a horse's body, a stag's legs, a lion's tail, and a straight spiraled horn growing from its forehead, especially employed as a supporter for the Royal Arms of Great Britain or of Scotland.
  • noun The constellation Monoceros.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A traditional or fabulous animal, with a single long horn, the monoceros of classic writers, commonly described as a native of India, but in terms not certainly applicable to any known animal.
  • noun A mistranslation in the authorized version of the Bible (Deut. xxxiii. 17, and elsewhere) of the Hebrew word re'ēm.
  • noun In heraldry, the representation of the fabulous animal used as a bearing.
  • noun The unicorn-fish, unicorn-whale, sea-unicorn, or narwhal, whose enormously long single incisor tooth projects like a horn. See Monodon, monoceros, 3.
  • noun The kamichi or horned screamer, Palamedea cornuta; the unicorn-bird. N. Grew. See cut under Palamedea.
  • noun A kind of beetle having a single long horn; a unicorn-beetle. Various large beetles literally answer to this definition, being unicornous, with a large single prothoracic horn. See Dynastes, elephant-beetle, Hercules-beetle.
  • noun In conchology, a unicorn-shell. See cut under Monoceros.
  • noun A pair of horses with a third horse in front; also, the whole equipage.
  • noun A Scottish gold coin issued by James III., James IV., and James V., having the figure of a unicorn on the obverse. Its standard weight was 58.89 grains troy, and it was current for 23 shillings Scotch.
  • noun [capitalized] In astronomy, the constellation Monoceros.

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

  • noun A fabulous animal with one horn; the monoceros; -- often represented in heraldry as a supporter.
  • noun A two-horned animal of some unknown kind, so called in the Authorized Version of the Scriptures.
  • noun Any large beetle having a hornlike prominence on the head or prothorax.
  • noun The larva of a unicorn moth.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The kamichi; -- called also unicorn bird.
  • noun (Mil.), obsolete A howitzer.
  • noun (Med.) a substance formerly of great repute in medicine; -- named from having been supposed to be the bone or the horn of the unicorn.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the narwhal.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a notodontian moth (Cœlodasys unicornis) whose caterpillar has a prominent horn on its back; -- called also unicorn prominent.
  • noun (Bot.) a name of two North American plants, the yellow-flowered colicroot (Aletris farinosa) and the blazing star (Chamælirium luteum). Both are used in medicine.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any one of several species of marine gastropods having a prominent spine on the lip of the shell. Most of them belong to the genera Monoceros and Leucozonia.

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

  • noun A mythical beast traditionally represented as having the legs of a buck, the body of a horse, the tail of a lion with a single spiral horn on its head; a symbol of virginity.
  • noun A heraldic representation of such a beast used as a charge or as a supporter; as in the arms of Great Britain and of Scotland.
  • noun historical In various Bible translations, used to render the Latin unicornis or rhinoceros (representing Hebrew רְאֵם); a reem or wild ox.

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

  • noun an imaginary creature represented as a white horse with a long horn growing from its forehead

Etymologies

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

[Middle English unicorne, from Old French, from Late Latin ūnicornis, from Latin, having one horn : ūnus, one; see oi-no- in Indo-European roots + cornū, horn; see ker- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

Comments

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  • Too swift and fierce to be captured by hunters, the unicorn could only be lured by a virgin seated alone under a tree in the forest.

    April 28, 2008

  • *runs through, looking around for narwhal, does not see*

    August 28, 2008

  • November 15, 2008

  • I hate when that happens.

    November 16, 2008

  • Then, according to Lamarck, they evolved into narwhals.

    November 16, 2008

  • The cartoon makes me so sad :(

    November 16, 2008

  • Reminds me of a Tove Jansson scene.

    November 16, 2008

  • Actually I didn't get the cartoon until, serendipitously, the lolcat article from which VanishedOne has been quoting recently was able to explain it for me.

    November 17, 2008

  • In 1979, while on a routine hunting expedition with Sir Geoffrey Huntington in Leeds England, professor Orbax was present when Sir Geoffrey shot this majestic beast. The creature was found in a clearing foraging for mandrake root. Zoologists from the Royal Museum in London were unable to accurately denote the genus of this specimen, as it has several features which defy common classification, yet are all consistent with classical legend of the unicorn. Coincidentally, Sir Geoffrey lost his fortune and estate over the next five years to an alcohol addiction coupled with a gambling problem. Sources close to him say it was as if he lost his spark for life. Unfortunately Sir Geoffrey took his own life, leaving the gorgeous remains of the creature to prof. Orbax in his will.

    January 12, 2009

  • If anyone else out there comes across a unicorn, please don't shoot it.

    January 12, 2009