nonpareil

adjective
non·pa·reil | \ ˌnän-pə-ˈrel \

Definition of nonpareil 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: having no equal Her performance was nonpareil. Our baker's cakes are nonpareil. a nonpareil drummer

nonpareil

noun

Definition of nonpareil (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an individual of unequaled excellence : paragon

2a : a small flat disk of chocolate covered with white sugar pellets

b : sugar in small pellets of various colors

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Did You Know?

Adjective

Trace "nonpareil" back to its Middle French origins and you'll find that it comes from a term meaning "not equal." "Pareil" itself comes from a Vulgar Latin form of "par," which means "equal." "Nonpareil" has served as an English adjective since the 15th century, and since the late 16th century it has also functioned as a noun describing an individual of unequaled excellence. In 1612, Captain John Smith used the term in that noun sense (but with a now-archaic spelling): "Pocahontas, Powhatan's daughter ... was the very Nomparell of his kingdome, and at most not past 13 or 14 years of age." And as you may know, "nonpareil" is also the name of a chocolate candy covered with white sugar pellets.

Examples of nonpareil in a Sentence

Adjective

the nonpareil beauty of Helen of Troy

Noun

Elvis was the nonpareil of early American rock and roll. among the knights of the Round Table, Galahad stood alone as the nonpareil of nobility and selflessness
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Golden State remains on a title quest and San Antonio’s nonpareil consistency is well-established, so the narratives aren’t shifting anytime soon. Jeremy Woo, SI.com, "Strange Starts Aside, Warriors Still A Difficult Problem for Spurs to Solve," 2 Nov. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There was always its food and nonpareil service—gracious, respectful, ever present but never intrusive—but also innovations small and large that kept all classes of fliers happy. David Denicolo, Town & Country, "Here's What It's Like to Fly in the Ultimate First Class Cabin," 14 Mar. 2018 While still slightly wet, sprinkle each cookie with yellow nonpareils. Anna Helm Baxter, Woman's Day, "Cookie Chicks," 7 Mar. 2018 Since then, Merlo said prices have fallen to $3.10 a pound for nonpareils. Dale Kasler, Phillip Reese And Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "California almonds, partly blamed for water shortage, now dropping in price | The Sacramento Bee," 30 Jan. 2016 But when Egyptologist Howard Carter found the pharaoh’s tomb in 1922—to this day, a nonpareil discovery in terms of the quality and quantity of its artifacts—Tut became something like the Beatles of modern archaeology. Sean Fitz-gerald, Los Angeles Magazine, "Why the King Tut Exhibit Coming to L.A. Is the Most Significant to Date," 16 Feb. 2018 It's generally considered high praise to say that musicians have developed their own languages, but Audrey Chen and Phil Minton make nonpareil music by bypassing language altogether. Bill Meyer, Chicago Reader, "Do This / Music Phil Minton and Audrey Chen plumb the pre- and post-language possibilities of the human voice," 26 Jan. 2018 Merlo Farming Group, which informally tracks industry prices, says nonpareil almonds, considered the premium variety, sold for as much as $4.98 a pound last July. Dale Kasler, Phillip Reese And Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "California almonds, partly blamed for water shortage, now dropping in price | The Sacramento Bee," 30 Jan. 2016 Many of the performances are nonpareil, attesting to the treasurable artistry of the one and only Slava. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "Ten classical recordings that made 2017 a very good listening year," 9 Dec. 2017 Directed by Des McAnuff, who had a long-running jukebox hit with 'Jersey Boys,' the bio-musical about the nonpareil disco diva will wrap its San Diego tryout run Dec. 24. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "Donna Summer Musical to Hit Broadway in Spring," 19 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nonpareil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of nonpareil

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nonpareil

Adjective

Middle English nounparalle, from Middle French nompareil, from non- + pareil equal, from Vulgar Latin *pariculus, from Latin par equal

Noun

see nonpareil entry 1

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Time Traveler for nonpareil

The first known use of nonpareil was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for nonpareil

nonpareil

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of nonpareil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: better than any other : having no equal

nonpareil

noun

English Language Learners Definition of nonpareil (Entry 2 of 2)

: someone or something that is better than any other

: a candy that is a small, flat, round piece of chocolate covered with tiny balls made of sugar

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