Definition of unicorn in English:



  • 1A mythical animal typically represented as a horse with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead.

    • ‘The golden unicorn was on his feet, and his eyes suddenly had a spark lit up inside of recognition.’
    • ‘‘No one has ever set foot in the unicorns ' meadow before,’ she said slowly.’
    • ‘The magical creatures and figures we will look at more closely are the griffin, the unicorn, the phoenix, the stag, the centaur, the hippogriff, and the red lion.’
    • ‘But the lion and the unicorn soon had unwelcome company.’
    • ‘Then, to her surprise, two young unicorns with brightly colored horns pushed through.’
    • ‘For a few seconds, a soft white wisp so brilliant that it hurt to look at shimmered in that spot, then slowly took the form of a large unicorn with a silver horn so bright that seemed to glow.’
    • ‘Confused, the lady walked up to the table and stared awkwardly at the beautiful lamp perched upon the horns of the unicorns.’
    • ‘She outstretches her hand, while the unicorn lowers her horn.’
    • ‘When the light died down I saw I was touching a regular unicorn's horn.’
    • ‘The daughter responded trying hard not to stare at the ornate configuration which resembled the horn of a unicorn.’
    • ‘Pandona is also home to many mythological creatures, such as centaurs, unicorns, and griffins.’
    • ‘Does anyone know where to find a unicorn's horn?’
    • ‘The four unicorns reared and dove off the side of the cliffs just as the dragon's claws closed on the ground where they had just been, leaving large rents in the rocky surface.’
    • ‘Manticores, unicorns, and griffins are just a sampling of what I have seen.’
    • ‘Could it be that true political geniuses are as mythical as unicorns?’
    • ‘The patch at the very middle of his head, protruding like a unicorn's horn, is dyed a wicked shade of platinum silver.’
    • ‘The pistol of the gun was spiraled and gold, resembling the fantastical unicorn's horn.’
    • ‘The unicorn bent his horn, and pointed it at Dana and Susie.’
    • ‘I suddenly noticed the unicorn sitting a few feet away.’
    • ‘Seated around the smaller tables were an assortment of fairies, gnomes, centaurs, unicorns, elves, goat men, dragons, and a number of creatures she'd never seen before.’
    1. 1.1 A heraldic representation of a unicorn, with a twisted horn, a deer's feet, a goat's beard, and a lion's tail.
      • ‘A panorama of the Houses of Parliament is sculpted in silver and 24-carat gold, along with the lion and unicorn from the royal standard.’
      • ‘In the very few crannies left behind are fleurs-de-lis, rampant lions, unicorns, dogs, and vases of flowers.’
      • ‘The heraldic artist reconstructed this accurate description as the beautiful unicorn.’
  • 2A start-up company valued at more than a billion dollars, typically in the software or technology sector.

    ‘a currency-exchange unicorn’
    as modifier ‘many unicorn start-ups have little revenue to speak of’
    • ‘Many unicorns will likely be destroyed when the tech bubble bursts, he writes.’
    • ‘The pursuit of, and investment in, companies that may become unicorns helps attract and fund some of the smartest technical and business minds in the world to work at the cutting edge of disruptive innovation.’
    • ‘The rise of unicorns has coincided with an extremely frothy, competitive market.’
    • ‘Companies are becoming unicorns faster, but unicorns aren't necessarily more common.’
    • ‘The investors are taking on very little risk when investing in unicorns, because they stand almost no risk of losing their money if the company goes south.’
    • ‘I hope they weren't spooked off from buying property a few years ago, what with all these doom and gloom losers pontificating about inflation, bubbles, and unicorns.’
    • ‘This has led to a lot of interest in the company as a unicorn.’
    • ‘Many companies in Silicon Valley, for example, share the dream of being the next unicorn.’
    • ‘Companies that are capable of billion-dollar valuations are rare, and obsessing over being such a "unicorn" startup can be counterproductive.’
    • ‘The downturn in fundraising activity is most pronounced among unicorns, whose valuations arguably got carried away relative to public market prices.’
  • 3historical A carriage drawn by three horses, two abreast and one leader.

    ‘she drove in her unicorn to Oakly-park’
    1. 3.1 A team of three horses arranged with two abreast and one leading.
      ‘team entries comprised two fours, three unicorns, and a three-abreast’


Middle English: via Old French from Latin unicornis, from uni- ‘single’ + cornu ‘horn’, translating Greek monokerōs.