[ yoo-nee ]
/ ˈyu ni /
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noun Informal.
a uniformed police officer; uniform: A uni phoned in the burglary at 2:19 this morning.
British and Australian. university: Tony and Marc are both off to uni in two weeks.
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Origin of uni

First recorded in 1895–1900; by shortening

Other definitions for uni (2 of 2)


a combining form occurring in loanwords from Latin (universe), used, with the meaning “one,” in the formation of compound words (unicycle).

Origin of uni-

<Latin ūni- combining form of ūnus one; see -i-
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does uni- mean?

Uni- is a combining form used like a prefix, meaning “one.”  Uni- appears in a wide variety of everyday and technical terms alike.

Uni- comes from the Latin ūnus, meaning “one.” The Greek counterpart of uni- is mono-, as in monologue. Learn more at our Words That Use article on the form.

Examples of uni-

One popular word that features uni- is unicorn, “a mythical creature resembling a horse, with a single horn in the center of its forehead.” The word comes from the Latin ūnicornis, which uses the equivalent form uni- in the language.

If uni- means “one,” what does the -corn portion of the word signify? The element -corn refers to “horn,” from the Latin cōrnu. Unicorn literally translates to “(having) one horn.”

What are some words that use the combining form uni-?

The following words use the equivalent forms of uni- in Latin:

What are some other forms that uni- may be commonly confused with?

Not every word that begins with the letters uni- is necessarily using the combining form uni- to mean “one.” These words, such as unidentified, are instead using the form un-, “not,” in combination with a second form beginning with the letter i. Learn more about the word unidentified at our entry.

Break it down!

The word cycle, from Greek kýklos, has a variety of meanings, including “wheel.” With this in mind, what does unicycle mean?

How to use uni in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for uni (1 of 2)

/ (ˈjuːnɪ) /

informal short for university

British Dictionary definitions for uni (2 of 2)


combining form
consisting of, relating to, or having only oneunilateral; unisexual

Word Origin for uni-

from Latin ūnus one
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