• Unique


    • Rhymes: -iːk


    From French unique.

    Full definition of unique



    1. (not comparable) Being the only one of its kind; unequaled, unparalleled or unmatched.
      • 1920, Robert W. Lawson, S:Relativity: The Special and General Theory/Part III, Perhaps the reader will wonder why we have placed our " beings " on a sphere rather than on another closed surface. But this choice has its justification in the fact that, of all closed surfaces, the sphere is unique in possessing the property that all points on it are equivalent.
      • 1941, S:Allen v. Walt Disney, 3. Both were written and published with the same unique chorus structure;

        4. Both compositions were written and published with the same unique harmonic structure;

      • 1963, Margery Allingham, The China Governess Chapter 3,  There's every Staffordshire crime-piece ever made in this cabinet, and that's unique. The Van Hoyer Museum in New York hasn't that very rare second version of Maria Marten's Red Barn over there, nor the little Frederick George Manning—he was the criminal Dickens saw hanged on the roof of the gaol in Horsemonger Lane, by the way—’
      • 1978, Jimmy Carter, S:Proclamation 4611, Admiralty Island contains unique resources of scientific interest which need protection to assure continued opportunities for study.
      • 2002, S:The American Practical Navigator/Chapter 11, GPS assigns a unique C/A code and a unique P code to each satellite.
    2. Of a feature, such that only one holder has it.
    3. (disputed) Of a rare quality.
      • 1950, J.D. Salinger, For Esmé—With Love and Squalor, And as I look back, it seems to me that we were fairly unique, the sixty of us, in that there wasn’t one good mixer in the bunch.
    4. (disputed) Unusual.

    Derived terms



    (plural uniques)
    1. A thing without a like; something unequalled or unparallelled.
      • De QuinceyThe phoenix, the unique of birds.
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