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

Butterflies, unicorns, and hearts are literally everywhere. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Taylor Swift Planted So Many Easter Eggs in Her 'ME!' Video," 26 Apr. 2019 Most unicorns have filled the role, leaving the swelling ranks of up-and-comers to battle for a smaller pool of candidates. Ezequiel Minaya, WSJ, "Silicon Valley Needs a Few Good CFOs," 24 May 2019 Camp’ and ‘2019’, and smaller ones with flowers, animals and unicorns. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Here Are All the Fashion References You Might Have Missed from the 2019 Met Gala," 7 May 2019 After pressing on your narwhal, unicorn, elephant, or penguin, each slowly rises back to its original form for a soft and squishy good time. Megan Stein, Country Living, "If Your Kids Love Hatchimals They're Going to Freak Over This New Squeezamals Game," 9 Jan. 2019 Feed the unicorn and sit her down on her glitter potty for a slime surprise. Rachel Siegel, The Seattle Times, "Hottest toys for Christmas (unicorn poop included)," 28 Nov. 2018 In the era of position-less basketball, James is the most magnificent unicorn. Jerry Brewer, chicagotribune.com, "Is LeBron James the GOAT? Forget the debate. It's asking the wrong question.," 9 May 2018 Starbucks is all about trying new things, which is why the world has been blessed with creations like the unicorn frappuccino AND color-changing cold brew. Emma Baty, Cosmopolitan, "This New Starbucks Drink May Taste More Like a Gin and Tonic Than Coffee," 14 Mar. 2018 Dressing up as a unicorn is just an excuse to show your magical, quirky soul to the world. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "These Are the Most Popular Halloween Costumes of 2018, According to Google," 16 Oct. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on unicorn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unicorn

Spanish Central: Translation of unicorn

Nglish: Translation of unicorn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unicorn for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about unicorn

Comments on unicorn

What made you want to look up unicorn? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!