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

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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.
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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 And unlike many workers in other professions, video visits or phone calls by her staff are risky, Boothe said. Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica, "Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Will Rise During Quarantines. So Will Neglect of At-Risk People, Social Workers Say.," 21 Mar. 2020 However, unlike shows like Hell's Kitchen, this series doesn't focus so much on the management, but rather redesigning the eatery's cuisine and interiors for a tasteful experience all around. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "11 Home Shows to Binge-Watch Tonight," 19 Mar. 2020 Arizona child care centers, unlike schools, have not been ordered to close in the face of growing concerns over the new coronavirus. Arizona Republic, "Why Arizona child care centers remain open, even as the government closes schools due to coronavirus," 17 Mar. 2020 Yes, Beinart was saying, unlike in earlier decades, Israel had the means to protect itself militarily. Ethan Bronner, The New York Review of Books, "Stuck," 12 Mar. 2020 Tasked with designing the elaborate tomb that would house his pharaoh, Djoser, the architect decided to construct a vast, space-swallowing structure unlike anything ever seen before—a shape that would extend not just out, but up. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Egypt’s Oldest Pyramid Reopens to Public After 14-Year Hiatus," 11 Mar. 2020 Analysts said unlike that rescue in the fall, Monday's announcement was preemptive in nature, aimed at avoiding a similar surge in borrowing costs. Matt Egan, CNN, "NY Fed pumps at least $50 billion more into the financial system to ease coronavirus stress," 9 Mar. 2020 Then there's the fact that recipes can actually be used (unlike, for instance, an old compact). Joshua David Stein, Town & Country, "Georgia O'Keeffe's Recipes Are a Glimpse Into the Ordinary Pleasures of an Extraordinary Genius," 6 Mar. 2020 New technology will enable the coronagraph to block multiple stars at the same time, needed to hunt for exoplanets in star systems that, unlike our own, have two stars or more. Umar Farooq, Science | AAAS, "‘We put everything into it.’ Modest telescope could have big impact on Turkish science," 4 Mar. 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.

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First Known Use of unlike


13th century, in the meaning defined above


1600, in the meaning defined above


1873, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for unlike

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Unlike.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unlike. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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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.

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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

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