unicorn

noun

uni·​corn ˈyü-nə-ˌkȯrn How to pronounce unicorn (audio)
plural unicorns
1
a
: 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 Available in 15 styles, including unicorns, dinosaurs, mermaids, and whales, these shoes have a heel tab to help kiddos get them on all by themselves. Dorian Smith-Garcia, Parents, 6 June 2024 Indeed, Maven, the company founded by Kate Ryder that Shah works for, became a unicorn by serving the women’s and family health market. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, 23 May 2024 And a unicorn—that is, a company that will reach the $1 billion level in value—is born. Ilya Strebulaev and Alex Dang, TIME, 22 May 2024 The movie is a unicorn of sorts, a pure and perfect action flick with post-apocalyptic hot rods, gorgeous demolition-derby carnage and demented confidence. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 21 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for unicorn 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unicorn.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near unicorn

Cite this Entry

“Unicorn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unicorn. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

unicorn

noun
: an imaginary animal generally represented with the body and head of a horse and a single horn in the middle of the forehead
Etymology

Middle English unicorne "unicorn," from early French unicorne (same meaning), derived from Latin unicornis "having one horn," from uni- "one" and cornu "horn" — related to corn entry 3, universe

Medical Definition

unicorn

adjective
: having a single horn or hornlike process
a unicorn uterus

More from Merriam-Webster on unicorn

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