- existing as the only one or as the sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics: a unique copy of an ancient manuscript.
- having no like or equal; unparalleled; incomparable: Bach was unique in his handling of counterpoint.
- limited in occurrence to a given class, situation, or area: a species unique to Australia.
- limited to a single outcome or result; without alternative possibilities: Certain types of problems have unique solutions.
- not typical; unusual: She has a very unique smile.
- the embodiment of unique characteristics; the only specimen of a given kind: The unique is also the improbable.
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.
Related Words for uniquelyparticularly, hardly, merely, purely, simply, alone, entirely, solely, expressly, especially, specifically, uniquely, remarkably, exceptionally, uncommonly, peculiarly, unusually, rarely, surprisingly, startlingly
Examples from the Web for uniquely
Contemporary Examples of uniquely
If well done, a video game is uniquely suited to tell the story of a television show.‘Game of Thrones’ Interactive FanFiction: Whoops, My Friend Was Speared in the Throat
December 13, 2014
Though, at their best, the Van Winkle whiskies are excellent, Pappy is not uniquely great.The Cult of Pappy van Winkle
December 3, 2014
But I feel like films are uniquely suited towards addressing paradox, recursiveness, and worlds-within-worlds.Christopher Nolan Uncut: On ‘Interstellar,’ Ben Affleck’s Batman, and the Future of Mankind
November 10, 2014
I think Mudbloods does that in a uniquely appropriate way, but there are other reasons it fits.Why I Named My Quidditch Film Mudbloods
October 14, 2014
But the Madonna videos—particularly “Express Yourself” and “Vogue”—are uniquely spectacular.David Fincher’s Backseat Feminism
October 9, 2014
Historical Examples of uniquely
Lampsacus worshipped a very great god and worshipped him uniquely.The Paliser case
While caring is not unique to nursing, it is uniquely expressed in nursing.Nursing as Caring
Well he understood her regret for that uniquely sharp speech of hers.Angela's Business
Henry Sydnor Harrison
On another, "To the unique, from one who admires him uniquely."
The loss was like that of an only and uniquely beloved child.
- being the only one of a particular type; single; sole
- without equal or like; unparalleled
- informal very remarkable or unusual
- leading to only one resultthe sum of two integers is unique
- having precisely one valuethe unique positive square root of 4 is 2
Word Origin for unique
c.1600, "single, solitary," from French unique, from Latin unicus "single, sole," from unus "one" (see one). Meaning "forming the only one of its kind" is attested from 1610s; erroneous sense of "remarkable, uncommon" is attested from mid-19c.