Definition of unique in English:

unique

adjective

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

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

archaic
  • A unique person or thing.

    • ‘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, 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 stages in between. 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 (nonabsolute) sense of ‘very remarkable or unusual,’ as in a really unique opportunity. It is advisable, however, to use unique in this sense sparingly and not to modify it with very, quite, really, etc.

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

unique

/yo͞oˈnēk/