[ yoo-nuh-lat-er-uh l ]
/ ˌyu nəˈlæt ər əl /


Nearby words

  1. uniformity,
  2. uniformize,
  3. unify,
  4. uniglandular,
  5. unijugate,
  6. unilateral anesthesia,
  7. unilateral declaration of independence,
  8. unilateral hemianopsia,
  9. unilateral hermaphroditism,
  10. unilateral neglect

Origin of unilateral

From the New Latin word ūnilaterālis, dating back to 1795–1805. See uni-, lateral

Related formsu·ni·lat·er·al·i·ty, nounu·ni·lat·er·al·ly, adverb

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

Examples from the Web for unilaterally

British Dictionary definitions for unilaterally


/ (ˌjuːnɪˈlætərəl) /


of, having, affecting, or occurring on only one side
involving or performed by only one party of severalunilateral disarmament
law (of contracts, obligations, etc) made by, affecting, or binding one party only and not involving the other party in reciprocal obligations
botany having or designating parts situated or turned to one side of an axis
sociol relating to or tracing the line of descent through ancestors of one sex onlyCompare bilateral (def. 5)
phonetics denoting an (l) sound produced on one side of the tongue only
Derived Formsunilateralism or unilaterality, noununilaterally, adverb

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 unilaterally



1802, from Modern Latin unilateralis, from unum, neuter of unus "one" (see one) + latus (genitive lateralis) "side" (see oblate (n.)). Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) may have been the first to use it in the legal sense of "made or entered into by one party." Unilateral disarmament is recorded from 1929.

It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism, while the wolf remains of a different opinion. [William Ralph Inge, "Outspoken Essays," 1919]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for unilaterally


[ yōō′nə-lătər-əl ]


On, having, or confined to only one side.
Related formsu′ni•later•al•ly adv.

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