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

  • adjective Of, on, relating to, involving, or affecting only one side.
  • adjective Performed or undertaken by only one side.
  • adjective Obligating only one of two or more parties, nations, or persons, as a contract or an agreement.
  • adjective Emphasizing or recognizing only one side of a subject.
  • adjective Having only one side.
  • adjective Tracing the lineage of one parent only.
  • adjective Botany Having leaves, flowers, or other parts on one side only.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • One-sided; of or pertaining to one side only.
  • In botany, one-sided; either originating on one side of an axis or all turned to one side, as the flowers of a unilateral raceme.
  • Placed on one side only of a surface; unifacial, as a set of polypites.

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

  • adjective Being on one side only; affecting but one side; one-sided.
  • adjective (Biol.) Pertaining to one side; one-sided.
  • adjective (Law) a contract or engagement requiring future action only by one party.

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

  • adjective done by one side only
  • adjective affecting only one side of the body
  • adjective binding or affecting one party only

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

  • adjective involving only one part or side
  • adjective tracing descent from either the paternal or the maternal line only


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word unilateral.


  • The institute also outlined in its report what it described as unilateral and uncoordinated government reforms: among them, national compensation rules that could cause "serious labor-market distortions," it said.

    IIF Says Domestic Bailouts Hurt Capital Markets 2009

  • PENHAUL: In what they described as a unilateral goodwill gesture, the FARC did free two hostages last week, including Betancourt's former vice presidential running mate, Clara Rojas.

    CNN Transcript Jan 16, 2008 2008

  • The group sought a stop to what it termed the unilateral imposition of a new pension fund in Johannesburg, an end to corruption and nepotism, and "effective cross-subsidisation from rich to poor and from business to domestic consumers".

    ANC Daily News Briefing 2004

  • The parliamentary branch of the trade union on Friday morning applied for the interdict, against Parliament and its presiding officers, to stop what it terms the unilateral implementation of a performance management system.

    ANC Daily News Briefing 2002

  • However, Israel has declared in recent days what it calls a unilateral cease-fire, saying that it will not take any offensive action, that it will act only in self defense.

    CNN Transcript May 25, 2001 2001

  • The agreement came a day after Mwasa threatened industrial action over what it termed unilateral plans by Argus to restructure the company, putting the jobs of many Mwasa members on the line.

    ANC Daily News Briefing 1994

  • The African National Congress has rejected what it termed the unilateral reappointment of outgoing members of the National Monuments Council by the Minister of National Education.

    ANC Daily News Briefing 1994

  • They have complained about what they term the unilateral restructuring of the South African Post Office and Telkom, and also about alleged moves to undermine the government's reconstruction and development programme.

    ANC Daily News Briefing 1994

  • The Western Cape region of the Pan Africanist Congress has come out in support of its negotiating team refusing to sign what it called the unilateral suspension of hostilities in Kempton Park on Tuesday, SABC radio news reported.

    ANC Daily News Briefing 1993

  • His South Korean counterpart, Park Ro-byug, said the current agreement was drafted in the days when South Korea was what he called a "unilateral recipient" of American help in civil nuclear engineering.

    NYT > Home Page By CHOE SANG-HUN 2011


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.