a person or thing that is rare and highly valued, or is a hypothetical ideal.
Unicorn comes from Old French unicorne, from the Latin adjective ūnicornis “one-horned,” which is used as a noun possibly referring to the rhinoceros in the Vulgate, the Latin version of the Bible as edited or translated by St. Jerome (c347–420). Ūnicornis is a loan translation from the Greek noun and adjective monókerōs “single-horned” (referring to a wild ox or a unicorn), a word that occurs in the book of Psalms in the Septuagint (the ancient Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures). Ūnicornis is a compound of ūni-, the stem of ūnus “one,” and cornū “horn” and the adjective suffix –is. Unicorn entered English in the 13th century.
Are such politically star-crossed lovers as Mary Matalin and James Carville a relationship unicorn?
Big N.B.A. trades are always followed by a scramble to label players and teams as winners and losers, but every so often a unicorn of a deal comes together, and everyone involved seems to benefit.
cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness: We accepted the invitation with alacrity.
Alacrity comes from Middle French alacrite from Latin alacritāt-, the stem of alacritās “liveliness, zeal, enthusiasm.” Alacritās is a derivative noun of the adjective alacer “nimble, brisk, enthusiastic, keen.” Latin alacer develops into Italian allegro and Spanish alegre “cheerful, happy.” Alacrity entered English in the 15th century.
Mrs Tulliver was an amiable fish of this kind, and, after running her head against the same resisting medium for fourteen years, would go at it again to-day with undulled alacrity.
The president has grumbled for months about what he views as Nielsen’s lackluster performance on immigration enforcement and is believed to be looking for a replacement who will implement his policy ideas with more alacrity.
to trick, deceive, swindle, or cheat: A fortuneteller flimflammed her out of her savings.
Flimflam “to trick, deceive, swindle,” shows the same common vowel alteration in a reduplicated word as in mish–mash or pitter–patter. Flimflam may possibly be based on a Scandinavian word, e.g., Old Norse flim “a lampoon, mockery.” Flimflam entered English in the 16th century as a noun meaning “idle talk, nonsense; a cheap deception.” The verb sense “to cheat, swindle,” originally an Americanism, arose in the late 19th century.
Slamming my fist on my writing desk I cursed the day a year before that I’d allowed by friend Eddy Dorobek to flimflam me into buying a used laptop from him and giving up my dead father’s rickety old Underwood portable.
Col. Leonard was there and he knows how they tried to flimflam us.