having no equal; peerless.


a person or thing having no equal.
a small pellet of colored sugar for decorating candy, cake, and cookies.
a flat, round, bite-sized piece of chocolate covered with this sugar.
  1. a 6-point type.
  2. a slug occupying 6 points of space between lines.

Origin of nonpareil

1400–50; late Middle English nonparaille < Middle French nonpareil, equivalent to non- non- + pareil equal < Vulgar Latin *pariculum (Latin pari- (stem of pār) equal + -culum -cule1)

Synonyms for nonpareil

Antonyms for nonpareil Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nonpareil

Contemporary Examples of nonpareil

Historical Examples of nonpareil

  • The phœnix,” she sighed, “the paragon, the nonpareil of the buttery.

    The Lady of Loyalty House

    Justin Huntly McCarthy

  • You know it; in that yallow building over by Nonpareil Square.

  • The “Nonpareil” was then taken off, and they started a coach called the “Tally Ho!”

  • At that time there was a coach called the “Nonpareil,” running from Devonport to Bristol.

  • Two nonpareil columns had to be filled, and I was getting along.

    Roughing It

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

British Dictionary definitions for nonpareil



a person or thing that is unsurpassed or unmatched; peerless example
(formerly) a size of printers' type equal to 6 point
US a small bead of coloured sugar used to decorate cakes, biscuits, etc
mainly US a flat round piece of chocolate covered with this sugar


having no match or equal; peerless

Word Origin for nonpareil

C15: from French, from non- + pareil same
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for nonpareil

late 15c., "having no equal," from Middle French nonpareil "unequalled, peerless," from non- "not" (see non-) + pareil "equal." The noun meaning "an unequaled person or thing" is from 1590s; first applied to a kind of candy 1690s. As the name of a printing type (6 point size) it is attested from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper