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 oil sanctions, which mainly went into effect in November after the United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement, are unilateral. Edward Wong, BostonGlobe.com, "Defying US sanctions, countries have taken oil from 12 Iranian tankers," 3 Aug. 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, "Woodlands allows annexation letter to be added to public record," 30 July 2019 Some Republicans, including senior Treasury Department officials, have privately expressed worry that a unilateral tax cut for investors would simply give Mr. Trump’s potential 2020 rivals more fodder for those attacks. Alan Rappeport, New York Times, "Trump Administration Is Divided Over Tax Cut for Investors," 30 July 2019 Fu said all sides expressed strong opposition against the unilateral imposition of sanctions by the U.S., especially the extraterritorial application of the sanctions. CBS News, "World diplomats hold talks in Vienna in effort to salvage Iran nuclear deal," 28 July 2019 Fu said all sides expressed strong opposition against the unilateral imposition of sanctions by the U.S., especially the extraterritorial application of the sanctions. NBC News, "World powers try to save nuclear deal amid mounting tensions between U.S. and Iran," 28 July 2019 But with New Delhi and others threatening to cause headaches for giant companies by passing their own unilateral tax laws, the powers-that-be are genuinely considering systems that would dent the profit-shifting status quo. Max De Haldevang, Quartz, "The Mauritius Leaks show the West profiting from poor nations while depriving them of tax revenue," 27 July 2019 Last week, the Trump Administration announced a new unilateral change to U.S. asylum policy, appearing to jump the gun on the 45-day deadline. Madeleine Joung, Time, "Trump’s Deadline for an Asylum Deal With Mexico Is Monday. Here’s What We Know," 20 July 2019 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

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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Last Updated

7 Aug 2019

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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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