unilateral

adjective
uni·​lat·​er·​al | \ ˌyü-ni-ˈla-tə-rəl How to pronounce unilateral (audio) , -ˈla-trəl\

Definition of unilateral

1a : done or undertaken by one person or party
b : of, relating to, or affecting one side of a subject : one-sided
c : constituting or relating to a contract or engagement by which an express obligation to do or forbear is imposed on only one party
2a : having parts arranged on one side a unilateral raceme
b : occurring on, performed on, or affecting one side of the body or one of its parts unilateral exophthalmos
3 : unilineal
4 : having only one side

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Other Words from unilateral

unilaterally adverb

Did You Know?

The world is a smaller place than it used to be, and we get uncomfortable when a single nation adopts a policy of unilateralism—that is, acting independently with little regard for what the rest of the world thinks. A unilateral invasion of another country, for instance, usually looks like a grab for power and resources. But occasionally the world welcomes a unilateral action, as when the U.S. announced unilateral nuclear-arms reductions in the early 1990s. Previously, such reductions had only happened as part of bilateral ("two-sided") agreements with the old Soviet Union. Multilateral agreements, on issues such as climate change, often involve most of the world's nations.

Examples of unilateral in a Sentence

Our country is prepared to take unilateral action.

Recent Examples on the Web

Last week, President Trump announced the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Susan Peterson, Washington Post, "Experts don’t like Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal — or his foreign policy in general," 16 May 2018 In a public letter to Trump on Monday, a dozen Senate Democrats said unilateral withdrawal by the United States would create unforeseeable problems. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "Donald Trump set to announce fate of Iran nuclear deal; blasts John Kerry for making it," 8 May 2018 And he may be rebuked again on immigration if the Court rules on Mr. Trump’s order rescinding Mr. Obama’s unilateral grant of work permits for Dreamer immigrants. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Presidents and Guardrails," 15 Feb. 2019 But that can be done through trade negotiations, not unilateral tariffs that will sour relations and damage the U.S. and Europe. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Crash on the Autobahn," 22 Feb. 2019 Both leaders' support allowed Rajoy's conservative cabinet to take direct control of the Catalan affairs last year in response to the region's unilateral independence declaration. Aritz Parra, chicagotribune.com, "Catalan lawmakers vote in new separatist chief Torra," 14 May 2018 Both sides enjoyed the discomfiture of the foreign-policy establishment when Mr. Trump challenged conventional wisdom, and both praised his willingness to pursue a more unilateral course in foreign affairs. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Trump’s Populist Schism Over Syria," 23 Dec. 2018 Google wasn't exactly wrong in its assessments, but SPDY was something of a unilateral act, with Google responsible for the design and functionality. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Google isn’t the company that we should have handed the Web over to," 17 Dec. 2018 Seek compromise with the right, or cut it loose and accept that progress will only be made where Democrats can amass unilateral power? David Roberts, Vox, "After the midterms, US climate politics are even more polarized. Here’s how Dems can move forward.," 12 Nov. 2018

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

1802, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for unilateral

Last Updated

15 May 2019

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Time Traveler for unilateral

The first known use of unilateral was in 1802

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More Definitions for unilateral

unilateral

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of unilateral

: involving only one group or country

unilateral

adjective
uni·​lat·​er·​al | \ ˌyü-ni-ˈlat-ə-rəl, -ˈla-trəl How to pronounce unilateral (audio) \

Medical Definition of unilateral

: occurring on, performed on, or affecting one side of the body or one of its parts unilateral exophthalmos

Other Words from unilateral

unilaterally \ -​ē How to pronounce unilaterally (audio) \ adverb

unilateral

adjective
uni·​lat·​er·​al | \ ˌyü-nə-ˈla-tə-rəl How to pronounce unilateral (audio) \

Legal Definition of unilateral

1 : done or undertaken by one party a unilateral mistake as to the terms
2 : of, relating to, or affecting one side of a subject
3 : containing a promise to perform made by only one party especially because the other has already performed (as by paying an amount) an option contract is unilateral

Other Words from unilateral

unilaterally adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on unilateral

Spanish Central: Translation of unilateral

Nglish: Translation of unilateral for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unilateral for Arabic Speakers

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