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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This means that it’s unique – unlike, say, money, which is a token of a currency with lots of units in existence that are all the same. Bernard Marr, Forbes, 11 July 2022 The brand showcases more people of different backgrounds in its ads—unlike in the past, when Apple primarily only focused on its products. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 15 July 2022 The move is not unlike when JP Morgan stepped in to save the traditional financial system during the bank panic of 1907, analysts have noted on Twitter. Nate Dicamillo, Quartz, 21 June 2022 Another key advantage of Roth IRAs is that—unlike with traditional IRAs—contributions can be withdrawn penalty-free. Laura Saunders, WSJ, 13 May 2022 Why is the city’s skyline far from the beach — unlike in Miami, Seattle and elsewhere? Los Angeles Times, 26 Jan. 2022 Still, the important word was counterpart — Pompeo is not deluding himself that our enemy is our friend — unlike, say, the Biden State Department negotiators currently cajoling Iran’s mullahs in hopes of reprising Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, 27 Feb. 2022 But this is a debate worth having — unlike with most bills in Sacramento. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 10 Jan. 2022 While the introduction of the new program will be attractive to loyal GM buyers, there are plenty of offers on the market now — unlike at the start of the pandemic two years ago. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 10 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition Doctors can tune beams of protons to precisely destroy specific targets, usually cancerous tumors, without harming nearby organs—unlike x-rays and gamma rays, which have historically been the go-to beams for cancer therapy. James Riordon, Scientific American, 29 July 2022 Viewers in recent weeks have seen occasionally critical coverage of Mr. Trump, but, unlike other news networks, Fox has chosen to air its own prime-time programming rather than the hearings of the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. New York Times, 29 July 2022 Walleye lurk in tens of thousands of Midwestern lakes, and unlike warm-water fish such as bass, they can be readily caught even in the depths of a Midwestern winter. Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post, 29 July 2022 And Nick Offerman is quietly devastating as Violet's father, who structures his whole existence around the void in his life — unlike Emma, who tries to fill hers with distractions. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, 29 July 2022 Each of these artists was connected by the period and the place, yet each was unique, not unlike every personalized Phantom Series II, the base model of which starts at $475,000. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 29 July 2022 Can, unlike other sharks, remain perfectly still, which, weirdly, makes Nursey even scarier. Henry Alford, The New Yorker, 29 July 2022 The Columbus advisory released last Friday urges residents to mask indoors and in crowded areas but is a recommendation, unlike an official mandate that was issued in March by the city's mayor, Andrew J. Ginther. Brooks Sutherland, The Enquirer, 28 July 2022 But unlike a crowded state-park campground, these rustic sites are well spaced apart and come with minimal amenities. Megan Michelson, Outside Online, 28 July 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Last Updated

31 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Unlike.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unlike. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for unlike


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on unlike

Nglish: Translation of unlike for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unlike for Arabic Speakers


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