Definition of unique in English:

unique

adjective

  • 1Being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.

    ‘the situation was unique in British politics’
    ‘original and unique designs’
    • ‘His logic is still unique, but unlike his huge stage, his canvas hasn't broadened.’
    • ‘They employed the unusual, if not unique, move of boycotting their own executive meetings.’
    • ‘Only mankind is unique, in that unlike the fox, he kills his own species by the tens of thousands.’
    • ‘The chip, which emits the unique signal for your account, is injected into your arm!’
    • ‘We are supposed to believe that he is an expert on Russia with a unique power of insight needed by the military top brass.’
    • ‘This last was a speciality of his, to which he brought unique and profound insights.’
    • ‘On top of that, his work with the BBC gives him a unique insight into British athletics.’
    • ‘It would mark appropriate respect for a remarkable individual if his colours remained unique.’
    • ‘The society was so singular, so unique, so finely skewed between wilderness and civilisation.’
    • ‘She used her skills as a graphic artist to create unusual images to give each a unique look.’
    • ‘I thought it was the right opportunity to observe a unique jungle drama and record it on film.’
    • ‘This trail can be picked up by anyone with the right scanner, which can identify an item by its unique signal.’
    • ‘The brain is unique in that, unlike any other organ, it can tell you about itself.’
    • ‘This will be a unique opportunity to see this fascinating film and its first screening in Britain.’
    • ‘In keeping with their unique sound, the recording process is also unusual.’
    • ‘For example, it had a radical and unique design which could have deterred some car buyers in the medium car sector.’
    • ‘All apartments are individually designed to give a unique look and feel to each property.’
    • ‘So unique and unusual is the table that it has pride of place in the front window.’
    • ‘A new book claims to give a unique insight into becoming a better driver.’
    • ‘Although the severity and scale of the crisis was unusual, such problems are not unique.’
    distinctive, individual, special, especial, idiosyncratic, quirky, eccentric, isolated
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    1. 1.1unique to Belonging or connected to (one particular person, place, or thing)
      ‘a style of architecture that is unique to Portugal’
      • ‘One attraction completely unique to Rotterdam is the famous cube houses.’
      • ‘In parallel, something more complicated was happening to the flag in New York, unique to America.’
      • ‘However I could not spot any items that would be unique to this venue.’
      • ‘Between a third and half of the dew ponds, unique to the limestone dales in the White Peak, have also disappeared.’
      • ‘History has treated the Crash as a freak and singular event, unique to itself and highly unlikely to be repeated.’
      • ‘It is a myth to claim that this is an experience unique to expatriate life.’
      • ‘The series uses a lot of very similar camera angles, but they're relatively unique to it and they work really well.’
      • ‘There is no brain chemistry unique to the pit bull that makes it unpredictable.’
      • ‘That the USA has just one film in the official competition is not unique to Moscow.’
      • ‘The one opportunity you don't want to miss out on is something unique to the island and truly special.’
      • ‘When the work is completed it will be known as the Chapel of Adoration and will be unique to Abbeyleix.’
      • ‘The ruling is unique to probation service workers in Greater Manchester.’
      • ‘The story goes on to say, however, that video surveillance is not unique to China.’
      • ‘Central American cenotes are legendary, unique to this part of the world.’
      • ‘Most males do not survive this process, which seems to be unique to Latrodectus hasselti.’
      • ‘However, Western wars in the Middle East and worldwide poverty are hardly unique to the current period.’
      • ‘A number unique to each handset can be used to identify and render stolen phones inoperable.’
      • ‘The Sierra Nevada is particularly rich in them, with 50 varieties unique to the mountains.’
      • ‘You see, we came together as the Association of Muslim Police because we have interests which are unique to us.’
      • ‘While the books were written as a pair they paint a very individual picture, each unique to its own area.’
      peculiar, specific, particular, found only in
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    2. 1.2 Particularly remarkable, special, or unusual.
      ‘a unique opportunity to see the spectacular Bolshoi Ballet’
      • ‘Games developers in the city will have a unique opportunity to get close to a potential major player in the industry.’
      • ‘Her record of events offers a unique insight into one woman's war - on the Home Front.’
      • ‘It is a unique opportunity to improve the lives of millions of poor people around the world.’
      • ‘You have to be nice to people to convince them that lending their work of art is a unique opportunity.’
      • ‘The recent turmoil in the US energy market has created a unique opportunity for the new firm.’
      • ‘I have to admit that this is not my scene, but this tradition certainly adds something unique to the English scene.’
      • ‘They are in a unique position to provide some real insights into the blogging world, but they didn't do that.’
      • ‘Gwen's photographs give a fresh insight into this unique period of Lakeland's past.’
      • ‘This is a truly unique opportunity to see and hear one of the real innovators of the blues.’
      • ‘We also now present an ideal and unique sponsorship opportunity for European brands.’
      • ‘They did not look that impressive with their light brown skin, but it was unique to see a primate of this size.’
      • ‘This extraordinary and unique piece is the first in a series of new work focusing on mythology.’
      • ‘As it is rarely seen outside Japan this is a unique opportunity for people in New Zealand to view it.’
      • ‘Once again all the banks spotted the unique opportunity of this market at exactly the same time.’
      • ‘She has a unique talent, but there's an unusual maturity and a respect for musical history.’
      • ‘The secret recordings gave a unique insight into Barrett's domestic affairs.’
      • ‘It's been a unique opportunity for young dancers in Swindon as all the teachers began with us.’
      • ‘This is a unique opportunity to get hands on experience of museum work.’
      • ‘The series provides a unique insight into life in late Victorian and early Edwardian Britain.’
      • ‘However, by the opening of his act we knew that this was to be a remarkably unique performance.’
      remarkable, special, singular, noteworthy, notable, signal, outstanding, extraordinary
      View synonyms

noun

archaic
  • A unique person or thing.

    ‘some of Lamb's writings were so memorably beautiful as to be uniques in their class’
    • ‘Sammoun's limited editions are hand-painted uniques in editions of 100, plus proofs.’
    • ‘The second-order jackknife estimator incorporates the number of uniques, duplicates, and the number of quadrats sampled.’
    • ‘One of Quebec's best-known impressionist painters, Sammoun is represented in the United States by Marco Fine Art of El Segundo, Calif., which also publishes the artist's hand-painted uniques in editions of 200 pieces on canvas.’

Usage

There is a set of adjectives—including unique, complete, equal, infinite, and perfect—whose core meaning embraces a mathematically absolute concept and which therefore, according to a traditional argument, cannot be modified by adverbs such as really, quite, or very. For example, since the core meaning of unique (from Latin ‘one’) is ‘being only one of its kind’, it is logically impossible, the argument goes, to submodify it: it either is ‘unique’ or it is not, and there are no in-between stages. In practice the situation in the language is more complex than this. Words like unique have a core sense but they often also have a secondary, less precise sense: in this case, the meaning ‘very remarkable or unusual’, as in a really unique opportunity. In its secondary sense, unique does not relate to an absolute concept, and so the use of submodifying adverbs is grammatically acceptable

Origin

Early 17th century: from French, from Latin unicus, from unus ‘one’.

Pronunciation

unique

/juːˈniːk/