[ yoo-ni-kawrn ]

  1. a mythical creature resembling a horse, with a single horn in the center of its forehead: often symbolic of chastity or purity.

  2. a heraldic representation of this animal, in the form of a horse with a lion's tail and with a long, straight, and spirally twisted horn.

  1. Unicorn, Astronomy. the constellation Monoceros.

  2. an animal mentioned in the Bible, Deuteronomy 33:17: now believed by some to be a description of a wild ox or rhinoceros.

  3. a former gold coin of Scotland, first issued by James III in 1486, having an obverse bearing the figure of a unicorn.

  4. Business. a relatively new company, usually less than ten years old, that is valued at $1 billion or more by public or private investors.

  5. a person or thing that is rare and highly valued, or is a hypothetical ideal: Hiring unicorns is expensive, but their productivity can take your enterprise to the next level.Finding jeans that are comfortable and fashionable—that’s my unicorn.

  6. Slang. a bisexual woman who joins an established heterosexual couple in a sexual encounter or relationship.

Idioms about unicorn

  1. chase a / the unicorn, to pursue an unattainable object or impossible goal, especially when diverting effort or resources away from an existing commitment or practical plan.

Origin of unicorn

First recorded in 1200–1250; Middle English, from Old French unicorne, from the Latin adjective ūnicornis “one-horned” (used as a noun in the Vulgate and possibly referring to the rhinoceros), a loan translation from the Greek noun and adjective monókerōs, equivalent to uni- “one” + corn(ū) “horn” + -is adjective suffix; see uni-, horn

Words Nearby unicorn

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use unicorn in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for unicorn


/ (ˈjuːnɪˌkɔːn) /

  1. an imaginary creature usually depicted as a white horse with one long spiralled horn growing from its forehead

  2. Old Testament a two-horned animal, thought to be either the rhinoceros or the aurochs (Deuteronomy 33:17): mistranslation in the Authorized Version of the original Hebrew

Origin of unicorn

C13: from Old French unicorne, from Latin ūnicornis one-horned, from ūnus one + cornu a horn

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

Cultural definitions for unicorn


A mythical animal resembling a small horse but with a long, straight horn growing out of its forehead. Often it was described as having the legs of a deer and the tail of a lion. Some sources claim it was visible only to virgins.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.