uni·​corn | \ ˈyü-nə-ˌkȯrn How to pronounce unicorn (audio) \
plural unicorns

Definition of unicorn

1a : a mythical, usually white animal generally depicted with the body and head of a horse with long flowing mane and tail and a single often spiraled horn in the middle of the forehead
b : an animal mentioned in the Bible that is usually considered an aurochs, a one-horned rhinoceros, or an antelope
2 : something unusual, rare, or unique There's the elusive unicorn: headphones that do everything well and work in any situation.— Damon Darlin In Washington, D.C., truth is now a veritable unicorn.— Marilyn M. Singleton … he's like baseball's version of a unicorn—a true two-way player.— Tony Paul
3 business : a start-up that is valued at one billion dollars or more … a tech unicorn in Michigan is even more of a rarity, far from Silicon Valley's investor echo chamber.— Scott Martin The blockbuster initial public offering is expected to kick off a revitalized market this year, encouraging IPO debuts by other unicorns, the privately held start-ups whose hefty venture capital funds have allowed them to avoid Wall Street and the legal requirements of a public offering.— Jon Swartz

Illustration of unicorn

Illustration of unicorn

Examples of unicorn in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Apna is less than two years old, but is nonetheless a unicorn. David Meyer, Fortune, 16 Sep. 2021 The transaction would make Prenetics the first unicorn from Hong Kong to be publicly listed in any market, according to a Prenetics press release. Russell Flannery, Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 This summer travel bookings surged to record levels at Hopper as people anxiously, yet carefully, make plans to vacation again, making the unicorn's add-ons increasingly appealing. Jessica Mathews, Fortune, 14 Sep. 2021 Captain Swagger continues to fend off the gold unicorn. Scott Patsko, cleveland, 11 Sep. 2021 Zenoti, for example, is a unicorn that builds software for the spa and beauty salon industry. Diksha Madhok, CNN, 9 Sep. 2021 With jury selection in the trial beginning Tuesday, STAT has put together a video timeline of how this biotech unicorn fell spectacularly from grace. Hyacinth Empinado, STAT, 1 Sep. 2021 The co-founder of India’s latest cryptocurrency unicorn almost didn’t launch his company. Mimansa Verma, Quartz, 17 Aug. 2021 For one thing, the man was basically an urban unicorn: a funny, charismatic, and down-to-Earth stud who also happened to be the New York Knicks’ team doctor and didn’t even flinch upon learning that Miranda and her infant son had chickenpox. Mara Reinstein, Vulture, 19 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unicorn.' 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 unicorn

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for unicorn

Middle English unicorne, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin unicornis, from Latin, having one horn, from uni- + cornu horn — more at horn

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Time Traveler for unicorn

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The first known use of unicorn was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near unicorn



unicorn's horn

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Last Updated

6 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unicorn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unicorn. Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for unicorn



English Language Learners Definition of unicorn

: an imaginary animal that looks like a horse and has a straight horn growing from the middle of its forehead


uni·​corn | \ ˈyü-nə-ˌkȯrn How to pronounce unicorn (audio) \

Kids Definition of unicorn

: an imaginary animal that looks like a horse with one horn in the middle of the forehead


uni·​corn | \ ˈyü-nə-ˌkȯ(ə)rn How to pronounce unicorn (audio) \

Medical Definition of unicorn

: having a single horn or hornlike process a unicorn uterus

More from Merriam-Webster on unicorn

Nglish: Translation of unicorn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unicorn for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about unicorn


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