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

The Trump administration’s sanctions, which went into effect in November after the United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement, are unilateral. Michael Forsythe, BostonGlobe.com, "To circumvent US sanctions on Iran, some cargo ships go off the grid," 2 July 2019 The Trump administration’s sanctions, which went into effect last November after the United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement, are unilateral. Michael Forsythe, New York Times, "To Evade Sanctions on Iran, Ships Vanish in Plain Sight," 2 July 2019 The question being, if the regional participation agreements went away for any reason, is The Woodlands still in danger of unilateral annexation by Houston or Conroe. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Legal consultant: new state laws do not affect Woodlands incorporation efforts," 27 June 2019 Now Democrats protest the unilateral measures Trump is taking on immigration and other contentious issues. oregonlive.com, "Joe Biden insists bipartisanship needed to hold U.S. together; Donald Trump says Biden lacks ‘mental capacity’," 18 June 2019 The University’s unilateral actions virtually guarantee the possibility of an appeal of any ruling by the Court. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "Judge: U-M is trying to protect president from public. Here's why.," 17 June 2019 The president has long favored tariffs as an immediate and unilateral policy tool. New York Times, "Trump Says Mexico Tariffs Worked, Emboldening Trade Fight With China," 10 June 2019 In that scenario, policy differences over foreign affairs and trade, where the president does have a lot of unilateral power, would matter more. The Economist, "Democrats running for president are selling plans to transform America," 6 June 2019 In December, Myanmar’s military announced a unilateral cease-fire with ethnic groups elsewhere in the country. Jon Emont, WSJ, "Feuding Monks Expose Bitter Ethnic Buddhist Divisions in Myanmar," 9 Feb. 2019

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

10 Jul 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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