Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


1. Being the only one of its kind: the unique existing example of Donne's handwriting.
2. Characteristic only of a particular category or entity: a weather pattern that is unique to coastal areas.
3. Remarkable; extraordinary: a unique opportunity to buy a house.

[French, from Old French, from Latin ūnicus; see oi-no- in Indo-European roots.]

u·nique′ly adv.
u·nique′ness n.
Usage Note: Unique may be the foremost example of an absolute term—a term that, in the eyes of traditional grammarians, should not allow comparison or modification by an adverb of degree like very, somewhat, or quite. Thus, most grammarians believe that it is incorrect to say that something is very unique or more unique than something else, though phrases such as nearly unique and almost unique are presumably acceptable, since in these cases unique is not modified by an adverb of degree. A substantial majority of the Usage Panel supports the traditional view. In our 2004 survey, 66 percent of the Panelists disapproved of the sentence Her designs are quite unique in today's fashion, although in our 1988 survey, 80 percent rejected this same sentence, suggesting that resistance to this usage may be waning. · In fact, the nontraditional modification of unique may be found in the work of many reputable writers and has certainly been put to effective use: "I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson, and the great-grandson of preachers" (Martin Luther King, Jr.)."The creature is so unique in its style and appearance that the biologists who discovered it have given it not just its own species name ... but have moved way up the classification scale and declared that it is an entirely new phylum" (Natalie Angier). See Usage Notes at absolute, equal.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. being the only one of a particular type; single; sole
2. without equal or like; unparalleled
3. informal very remarkable or unusual
4. (Mathematics) maths
a. leading to only one result: the sum of two integers is unique.
b. having precisely one value: the unique positive square root of 4 is 2.
[C17: via French from Latin ūnicus unparalleled, from ūnus one]
uˈniquely adv
uˈniqueness n
Usage: Unique is normally taken to describe an absolute state, i.e. one that cannot be qualified. Thus something is either unique or not unique; it cannot be rather unique or very unique. However, unique is sometimes used informally to mean very remarkable or unusual and this makes it possible to use comparatives or intensifiers with it, although many people object to this use
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



1. existing as the only one or as the sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics.
2. having no like or equal; unparalleled; incomparable.
3. limited in occurrence to a given class, situation, or area.
4. not typical; unusual: She has a very unique ability to inspire people.
5. the embodiment of unique characteristics; the only one of a given kind.
[1595–1605; < French < Latin ūnicus, derivative of ūn(us) one]
u•nique′ly, adv.
u•nique′ness, n.
usage: Many usage guides, editors, teachers, and others maintain that such “absolute” words as complete, equal, perfect, and esp. unique cannot be compared because the condition they denote cannot be more or less than it already is. However, all such words have undergone semantic development and are used in a number of senses, some of which can be compared by words like more, very, somewhat, and totally and some of which cannot. The earliest meanings of unique when it entered English around 1600 were “single, sole” and “having no equal.” By the mid-19th century unique had developed a wider meaning, “not typical, unusual,” and it is in this wider sense that it is compared: The foliage on the late-blooming plants is more unique than that on the earlier varieties. Such comparison, though criticized, is standard in all varieties of speech and writing. See also a1, complete, perfect.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. used to mean 'the only one'

If something is unique, it is the only thing of its kind.

This is a unique opportunity.
Humans are unique because they have the capacity to choose what they do.

For emphasis, you can use words such as totally or absolutely in front of unique.

By the late 1930's the country had full employment -- an absolutely unique achievement.

You can say that something is almost unique.

You suffer from an almost unique mental condition.
2. used to mean 'unusual'

Some people use unique to mean 'unusual'. They say, for example, that something is very unique or rather unique.

Oh, I say, that's rather unique, isn't it?
I realized I had hit on something pretty unique.

These uses of unique are generally thought to be incorrect.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.unique - radically distinctive and without equalunique - radically distinctive and without equal; "he is alone in the field of microbiology"; "this theory is altogether alone in its penetration of the problem"; "Bach was unique in his handling of counterpoint"; "craftsmen whose skill is unequaled"; "unparalleled athletic ability"; "a breakdown of law unparalleled in our history"
incomparable, uncomparable - such that comparison is impossible; unsuitable for comparison or lacking features that can be compared; "an incomparable week of rest and pleasure"; "the computer proceeds with its incomparable logic and efficiency"; "this report is incomparable with the earlier ones because of different breakdowns of the data"
2.unique - (followed by `to') applying exclusively to a given category or condition or localityunique - (followed by `to') applying exclusively to a given category or condition or locality; "a species unique to Australia"
specific - (sometimes followed by `to') applying to or characterized by or distinguishing something particular or special or unique; "rules with specific application"; "demands specific to the job"; "a specific and detailed account of the accident"
3.unique - the single one of its kindunique - the single one of its kind; "a singular example"; "the unique existing example of Donne's handwriting"; "a unique copy of an ancient manuscript"; "certain types of problems have unique solutions"
single - existing alone or consisting of one entity or part or aspect or individual; "upon the hill stood a single tower"; "had but a single thought which was to escape"; "a single survivor"; "a single serving"; "a single lens"; "a single thickness"
4.unique - highly unusual or rare but not the single instanceunique - highly unusual or rare but not the single instance; "spoke with a unique accent"; "had unique ability in raising funds"; "a frankness unique in literature"; "a unique dining experience"
unusual - not usual or common or ordinary; "a scene of unusual beauty"; "a man of unusual ability"; "cruel and unusual punishment"; "an unusual meteorite"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. distinct, special, exclusive, peculiar, only, single, lone, solitary, one and only, sui generis The area has its own unique language, Catalan.
2. unparalleled, unrivalled, incomparable, inimitable, unmatched, peerless, unequalled, matchless, without equal, nonpareil, unexampled She was a woman of unique talent and determination.
3. (with to) exclusive to, particular to, peculiar to, found only in, characteristic of, typical of This interesting and charming creature is unique to Borneo.
Usage: Unique with the meaning `being the only one' or `having no equal' describes an absolute state: a case unique in British law. In this use it cannot therefore be qualified; something is either unique or not unique. However, unique is also very commonly used in the sense of `remarkable' or `exceptional', particularly in the language of advertising, and in this meaning it can be used with qualifying words such as rather, quite, etc. Since many people object to this use, it is best avoided in formal and serious writing.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
فَرِيدفَريد، فَذ، مُنْقَطِع النَّظير
duy nhất


[juːˈniːk] ADJ
1. (= exclusive) [style, collection, combination] → único
to be unique to sth/sb: it is a species unique to these islandses una especie que se da únicamente en estas islas
the experience is unique to each individualla experiencia es única (e irrepetible) en cada individuo
this behaviour is not unique to meneste comportamiento no se da únicamente en los hombres
2. (= exceptional) [opportunity] → único; [ability, talent] → sin igual, excepcional; [insight] → único, de excepción; [relationship] → especial
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[juːˈniːk] adj
(= one of a kind) → unique
Each person's signature is unique → Chaque signature est unique.
(= exceptional) [talent, opportunity, voice] → unique
Katy was a woman of unique talent → Katy était une femme au talent unique.
(= exclusive) unique to sth → unique à qch
to be unique to a place → être unique à un endroit
This creature is unique to Borneo → Cette créature est unique à Bornéo.
to be unique to sb → être unique à qn
unique to each individual → unique à chaque individu
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


adjeinzig attr; (= outstanding)einzigartig, einmalig (inf); (Math) → eindeutig; you are not unique in thatda bist du nicht der/die Einzige; such cases are not unique to Britainsolche Fälle sind nicht nur auf Großbritannien beschränkt; unique among …einzigartig unter … (dat); unique selling pointeinzigartiger Verkaufsanreiz
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[juːˈniːk] adjunico/a
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(juːˈniːk) adjective
being the only one of its kind, or having no equal. His style is unique.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


فَرِيد jedinečný unik einzigartig μοναδικός único ainutlaatuinen unique jedinstven unico 独特の 독특한 uniek unik wyjątkowy único уникальный unik มีลักษณะเฉพาะ eşsiz duy nhất 独特的
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


a. único-a; solo-a; que se distingue de otros.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
References in classic literature ?
General cargo ports belong to the aristocracy of the earth's trading places, and in that aristocracy London, as it is its way, has a unique physiognomy.
The sensation produced by Princess Myakaya's speeches was always unique, and the secret of the sensation she produced lay in the fact that though she spoke not always appropriately, as now, she said simple things with some sense in them.
Counties, towns, hilly ribs and ridges, wide stretches of green meadow, great forest tracts, winding streams, a dozen blue lakes, a block of busy steamboats--we saw all this little world in unique circumstantiality of detail--saw it just as the birds see it--and all reduced to the smallest of scales and as sharply worked out and finished as a steel engraving.
When she had entirely forgotten the facts which would enable her to answer a question fully and conclusively, she commonly had some original theory to expound; it was not always correct, but it was generally unique and sometimes amusing.
What strikes one in it is that it is a phenomenon to the best of my knowledge--and you know what my knowledge is--unprecedented and unique in the history of mankind; the arrival of a nation at an ultimate stage of evolution without having passed through the mediate one; the passage of the fruit, in other words, from crudity to rottenness, without the interposition of a period of useful (and ornamental) ripeness.
I confess that I regarded it from my own unique and selfish point of view.
He had strengthened the window protections and fitted a unique wooden lock to the cabin door, so that when he hunted for game and fruits, as it was constantly necessary for him to do to insure sustenance, he had no fear that any animal could break into the little home.
Where Willarski saw deadness Pierre saw an extraordinary strength and vitality- the strength which in that vast space amid the snows maintained the life of this original, peculiar, and unique people.
That unique happiness too was dead, and in its shadowed silent chamber she might vent the passionate grief which she herself wondered at.
They sat together at a small table, looking upon a scene which was probably unique in the history of the great restaurant.
Consequently he has made a unique contribution to literature in his portrayals, in both prose and verse, of the English common soldier and of English army life on the frontiers of the Empire.
But supplementary to this, it has hypothetically occurred to me, that as ordinary fish possess what is called a swimming bladder in them, capable, at will, of distension or contraction; and as the Sperm Whale, as far as I know, has no such provision in him; considering, too, the otherwise inexplicable manner in which he now depresses his head altogether beneath the surface, and anon swims with it high elevated out of the water; considering the unobstructed elasticity of its envelop; considering the unique interior of his head; it has hypothetically occurred to me, I say, that those mystical lung-celled honeycombs there may possibly have some hitherto unknown and unsuspected connexion with the outer air, so as to be susceptible to atmospheric distension and contraction.