[ yoo-nit ]
/ ˈyu nɪt /


Nearby words

  1. unisexual,
  2. unisize,
  3. unison,
  4. unisonous,
  5. unispiral,
  6. unit card,
  7. unit cell,
  8. unit character,
  9. unit circle,
  10. unit cost

Origin of unit

1570; coined by John Dee as a translation of Greek mónas (previously rendered as unity); perhaps influenced by digit

Related formsin·ter·u·nit, adjectivemul·ti·u·nit, adjectivesub·u·nit, nounsu·per·u·nit, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for subunit


/ (sʌbˈjunɪt) /


a distinct part or component of something larger


/ (ˈjuːnɪt) /


Word Origin for unit

C16: back formation from unity, perhaps on the model of digit

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 subunit



1560s, "single number regarded as an undivided whole," alteration of unity on the basis of digit. Popularized in John Dee's English translation of Euclid, to express Greek monas (Dee says unity formerly was used in this sense). Meaning "single thing regarded as a member of a group" is attested from 1640s. Extended sense of "a quantity adopted as a standard of measure" is from 1738. Sense of "group of wards in a hospital" is attested from 1893.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for subunit


[ yōōnĭt ]


An entity regarded as an elementary structural or functional constituent of a whole.
A precisely specified quantity in terms of which the magnitudes of other quantities of the same kind can be stated.
The quantity of a serum, drug, or other agent necessary to produce a specific effect.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.