unicorn

[ yoo-ni-kawrn ]
/ ˈyu nɪˌkɔrn /

noun

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Idioms for unicorn

    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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for unicorn

British Dictionary definitions for unicorn

unicorn
/ (ˈjuːnɪˌkɔːn) /

noun

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

Word Origin for 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

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.