unlike

1 of 3

adjective

un·​like ˌən-ˈlīk How to pronounce unlike (audio)
: 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
unlikeness noun

unlike

2 of 3

preposition

: 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

unlike

3 of 3

conjunction

: in a manner that is different than : not as
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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Not consistently making vaccine counseling reimbursable, unlike, say, nutritional counseling, disincentivizes health care providers to spend the time needed. Saad B. Omer, The Mercury News, 27 Mar. 2024 So basically like, unlike, like and then unlike Ulysses-ha. Evan Minsker, Pitchfork, 17 Nov. 2023 Even after mild cases of COVID, long COVID symptoms can linger for a year or more Jan. 15, 2023 The effort, scientists said, was an important step toward better defining long COVID, which can be hard to pinpoint because it can’t be easily diagnosed or tested for — unlike, say, a heart attack. Rong-Gong Lin Ii, Los Angeles Times, 2 June 2023 Though cases among students and teachers have risen along with overall viral levels in their communities, the rate at which the virus has been passed on within classrooms has stayed low and constant - unlike universities, which have emerged as a concern. Michael Birnbaum, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Dec. 2020 The federal government does not have much leverage over assisted living facilities, which - unlike nursing homes - do not heavily rely on Medicaid and Medicare funds, said R. Tamara Konetzka, a health sciences professor at the University of Chicago. Sarah Volpenhein, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 Nov. 2021 Is there a sibling alive who hasn’t felt simultaneously twinned by, and jarringly unlike, the person who shares not only their formative history and family tree, but also their DNA? Meredith Maran, Washington Post, 5 Jan. 2023 O’Dea’s kept his honor intact — unlike, say, J.D. Vance. Los Angeles Times, 13 Nov. 2022 This, too, parallels other such wars, for instance the Korean War, in which U.S.-led air attacks devastated North Korean cities in a manner not unlike, and often exceeding, Russia’s strike campaign in Ukraine. Max Fisher, New York Times, 16 Jan. 2023
Preposition
That’s because Webster’s definition of the offending word, unlike those proffered by competitors like the Oxford English Dictionary, elides the sense of mastery in which the loose-lipped Frank used it. Chris Klimek, Washington Post, 10 Apr. 2024 Except unlike the book, published by author and executive producer Viet Thanh Nguyen in 2015, this confession isn’t read — it’s seen, a shift that propels both the innovations and the errors of the otherwise faithful adaptation. Alison Herman, Variety, 10 Apr. 2024 And unlike the participants in the original Dutch study, many of the new patients did not experience gender distress until puberty and had other mental health conditions, including depression and autism. Azeen Ghorayshi, New York Times, 9 Apr. 2024 Nikon camera owners should note that the manual focus ring does not double as a customizable Control Ring, unlike on the Nikkor Z 28-75mm. PCMAG, 28 Mar. 2024 But unlike George Washington, who is interred in a magnificent marble tomb in Mount Vernon, Virginia, Samuel’s grave was unmarked, likely to protect it from grave robbers, Cavagnino told CNN in an email. Mindy Weisberger, CNN, 28 Mar. 2024 But for the other 89% – unlike for the Senegalese – the choice is no longer theirs. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 Mar. 2024 And unlike some wool socks that are itchy, these are soft and comfy. Maya Polton, Parents, 28 Mar. 2024 One reason that American guns have such an outsized role in Mexican crime is because unlike the United States, Mexico has very strict gun laws. Ieva Jusionyte, The Mercury News, 15 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unlike.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Preposition

1600, in the meaning defined above

Conjunction

1873, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near unlike

Cite this Entry

“Unlike.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unlike. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

unlike

1 of 2 adjective
un·​like ˌən-ˈlīk How to pronounce unlike (audio)
ˈən-
1
: marked by differences
people are all unlike
2
: unequal sense 1a
contributed unlike amounts
unlikeness noun

unlike

2 of 2 preposition
1
: different from
feeling completely unlike a hero
2
: not typical of
it was unlike her to be late
3
: in a different manner from
behaving unlike all the other children

More from Merriam-Webster on unlike

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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