[ uhn-pres-i-den-tid ]
/ ʌnˈprɛs ɪˌdɛn tɪd /


without previous instance; never before known or experienced; unexampled or unparalleled: an unprecedented event.



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Origin of unprecedented

First recorded in 1615–25; un-1 + precedent + -ed2

historical usage of unprecedented

The adjective unprecedented is unremarkable in its formation ( un- + precedent + -ed ) and meaning “without precedent, having no precedent; unparalleled.”
What is remarkable about unprecedented is that the two earliest known citations appear with the spelling unpresidented, with an si. The first use of this word appears in a 1641 speech by John Finch, Speaker of the House of Commons (later Lord Keeper of the Great Seal) and a very partisan supporter of King Charles I, and the second recorded use was made by King Charles himself in 1642 in his reply to Parliament. It is not until the following year that we find the first printed instance of this word spelled correctly, with a ce, in a political pamphlet in opposition to Charles I, written by Henry Parker, a strong supporter of the British Parliament.

OTHER WORDS FROM unprecedented

un·prec·e·dent·ed·ly, adverbun·prec·e·dent·ed·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for unprecedented

British Dictionary definitions for unprecedented

/ (ʌnˈprɛsɪˌdɛntɪd) /


having no precedent; unparalleled

Derived forms of unprecedented

unprecedentedly, 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