One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Of or relating to a unit or units; of the nature of a unit; = "unitary". In later use chiefly in legal contexts.
2Mathematics. Of a module: having the property that the product of any given element of the module and the identity of the ring associated with the module is the element itself. Of a ring or algebra: having a multiplicative identity element.
Mid 19th century. Partly from unit + -al.
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