un·​like | \ ˌən-ˈlīk How to pronounce unlike (audio) \

Definition of unlike

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: not like: such as
a : marked by lack of resemblance : different the two books are quite unlike
b : marked by inequality : unequal contributed unlike amounts

Definition of unlike (Entry 2 of 3)

: not like: such as
a : different from a landscape unlike any other
b : not characteristic of it was unlike him to be late
c : in a different manner from spoke clearly, unlike the others

Definition of unlike (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a manner that is different than : not as

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from unlike


unlikeness noun

Can unlike be used as a conjunction?: Usage Guide


The use of unlike as a conjunction is less common than conjunctive use of like and, while criticized, is not as frequently cited as an error. The conjunctive unlike almost always introduces a prepositional phrase. unlike in other areas, the judiciary cannot justify its attempt … as a necessary evil — Alexandra M. Walsh, Stanford Law Rev. In spite of criticism, this conjunctive use of unlike is well established in both American and British English.

Examples of unlike in a Sentence

Adjective a comparison of unlike things you're trying to compare very unlike things—like those proverbial apples and oranges Preposition The plants that grow here are unlike the plants that grow where I live. She's unlike anyone I've ever met.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective These artworks echo the style of Europe’s Old Masters, but quite unlike paintings of centuries past, the new pieces depict the gender-fluid, time-traveling alter ego of an indigenous artist. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "At the Met, Two New Monumental Paintings Foreground the Indigenous Experience," 19 Dec. 2019 Yet, unlike elsewhere, there were no allegations that Cal coaches accepted bribes. Nanette Asimov, SFChronicle.com, "UC Berkeley chancellor confronts diversity, housing challenges as classes resume," 2 Sep. 2019 Yet unlike cards and TV movies, ornaments are carefully stored and unwrapped each year. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "6,600 Hallmark ornaments just arrived at Henry Ford Museum: When you can see them," 25 Nov. 2019 House plants are thought to boost mood, improve focus, and relieve stress (not unlike yoga itself), while an essential oil diffuser can instantly give your space that inviting yoga-studio scent. Alexa Tucker, House Beautiful, "How to Create a Yoga Studio in Your House," 12 Nov. 2019 Yet unlike restaurant patrons, who can walk away from bad meals — and trash the establishment later on Yelp — long-term care residents are basically stuck. NBC News, "Nursing home kitchens in 'horrible' condition endanger the elderly, advocates say," 3 Oct. 2019 Foils, which have been around for decades and are not unlike small aircraft wings for the water, can be attached to a boat’s hull, allowing the vehicle to skim above the water with less resistance and at higher speed. Washington Post, "The newest hope to beat the traffic: a ‘flying’ water taxi that glides across town," 25 Sep. 2019 Some urban commuters will be able to justify the $3,299 / €3,199 / £2,899 base price by replacing costly commutes made by car, or by saving on surcharges when taking public transportation (folding bikes are usually free, unlike full-sized bikes). Thomas Ricker, The Verge, "GoCycle GX e-bike review: fast, fun, and foldable," 29 July 2019 But there are so many other amazing, mystifying planets out there that are completely unlike Earth and that show us the huge variety of ways planets can form and evolve. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "NASA Celebrates Halloween With These Interstellar Horror Posters," 31 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition Posing for photos at her best friend Malika Haqq's baby shower on Saturday, February 8, Kardashian is seen posing in a tan leather suit, which matches the beige, caramel, and brown shades of the party's decor — not unlike her new hair color. Marci Robin, Allure, "Khloé Kardashian Cut Her Hair Into a Brunette Bob With Chunky Highlights," 9 Feb. 2020 Landon, unlike Isaac, attended his zoned elementary school: PS 76, where only 3% of students were white and 95% received free or reduced-price lunch. USA Today, "Two boys with the same disability tried to get help. The rich student got it quickly. The poor student did not.," 9 Feb. 2020 Buttigieg, unlike Sanders, also participated in large dollar fundraisers to rake in cash. Sarah Ewall-wice, CBS News, "Bernie Sanders raised $25 million in January," 6 Feb. 2020 Liberians, unlike Nigerians, have a long history of political organizing and advocacy in the US. Chidinma Irene Nwoye, Quartz Africa, "Trump’s visa restrictions on Nigerians point to a lack of government and diaspora political clout," 5 Feb. 2020 But, unlike many states, Iowa keeps a physical, paper record from every precinct. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, "The Lesson American Voters Can Learn from Iowa," 5 Feb. 2020 Right now, unlike private insurers and some other federal providers, Medicaid programs must cover every single drug — a fact that some states say hampers their ability to get the best deal on pricey medicines. Lev Facher, STAT, "Trump’s Medicaid changes offer states new powers to lower drug costs — with a catch," 31 Jan. 2020 In Nevada, where Steyer was already known as the man running commercials calling for Trump to be impeached, his face and voice dominate the airwaves — unlike most of the rest of the 2020 field. Brian Slodysko, Fortune, "Two Billionaires Are Banking on Cash to Win the 2020 Democratic Nomination. Will It Work?," 11 Jan. 2020 But unlike Judaism and Christianity, leftism does not bring its adherents happiness. Dennis Prager, National Review, "Without Meaning, You Can’t Be Happy," 28 Jan. 2020

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


13th century, in the meaning defined above


1600, in the meaning defined above


1873, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unlike

Time Traveler for unlike

Time Traveler

The first known use of unlike was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for unlike

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unlike.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unlike. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for unlike


How to pronounce unlike (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of unlike

 (Entry 1 of 2)

somewhat formal : not similar

English Language Learners Definition of unlike (Entry 2 of 2)

: different from (something or someone)
: not typical of (someone) : not normal for (someone)
used to indicate how someone or something is different from other people or things
un·​like | \ ˌən-ˈlīk How to pronounce unlike (audio) \

Kids Definition of unlike

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : different from You are unlike the rest.
2 : unusual for It's unlike them to be so late.
3 : differently from I behave unlike the others.



Kids Definition of unlike (Entry 2 of 2)

: different sense 1, unequal You can't compare such unlike things.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on unlike

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unlike

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unlike

Spanish Central: Translation of unlike

Nglish: Translation of unlike for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unlike for Arabic Speakers

Comments on unlike

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
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!