Definition of unicum in US English:



  • A unique example or specimen.

    ‘the castle is not a unicum, it fits into the California tourist landscape with perfect coherence’
    • ‘That is, Levi's Auschwitz as unicum embodies the aporia of an example that can never be exemplary, because it cannot be subsumed into its exemplar.’
    • ‘Thus, by virtue of this transgressive unicum, an example without a prior exemplar to which it must conform, Levi-narrator becomes an unicus, neither mere witness nor mere litterateur.’
    • ‘The unicus / unicum shares the possible/impossible structure of the secret and the sublime.’
    • ‘They preserve many unica, especially the instrumental ensemble pieces in Eg.3665, and contain all his published music up to and including 16,12.’
    • ‘The essays in this and the next issue of Currents are the opportunity for many to give witness and testimony back to him and out to you about this unicum, this unprecedented man and his life and ministry.’


Late 19th century: from Latin, neuter of unicus ‘unique’.