Origin of unique
The earliest meanings of unique when it entered English around the beginning of the 17th century were “single, sole” and “having no equal.” By the mid-19th century unique had developed a wider meaning, “not typical, unusual,” and it is in this wider sense that it is compared: The foliage on the late-blooming plants is more unique than that on the earlier varieties. The comparison of so-called absolutes in senses that are not absolute is standard in all varieties of speech and writing.
See also a1, complete, perfect.
Examples from the Web for unique
Like Edgar, he remembers a unique time when American rappers came down and performed at the Primer Festival de Rap Cubano.
Christmas is unique in that it is a global holiday celebrated all over the world by humanity.
But that was probably the least unique thing about her childhood.Jena Malone’s Long, Strange Trip From Homelessness to Hollywood Stardom|Marlow Stern|December 22, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Testino was commissioned to create a unique piece of work inspired by the six pillars that define The Macallan.
As Testino explains, he decided to interpret each of the pillars via six unique characters.
The illustration is ludicrously inadequate, as every illustration must be, simply because the human case is unique.Parenthood and Race Culture|Caleb Williams Saleeby
At the same time, nurses thinking about, doing, and describing nursing know that caring has unique and particular meaning to them.Nursing as Caring|Anne Boykin
The Unique Society, above half a year ago, were wrecked on a desert island as they were returning from Gaul.Charlotte Bronte and Her Circle|Clement K. Shorter
This poem is unique, as far as I can discover, in the 1795 edition.The Poems of Philip Freneau, Volume II (of III)|Philip Freneau
“My hat and the butter,” said Anthony meekly, and at this unique combination they both laughed.A Village Stradivarius|Kate Douglas Wiggin
British Dictionary definitions for unique
- leading to only one resultthe sum of two integers is unique
- having precisely one valuethe unique positive square root of 4 is 2