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 This is unlike, say, a car loan, which allows borrowers the time to think rationally about taking it on. Mckenna Moore, Fortune, "Biden wants to change how credit scores work in America," 18 Dec. 2020 The plot changes as time moves along, and time—unlike in real life—always moves along. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Year of Ambitious TV Watching," 17 Dec. 2020 Americans are sorting themselves into social silos, seldom interacting with unlike-minded others, leading to less moderation and more radicalization. Kevin Vallier, WSJ, "Why Are Americans So Distrustful of Each Other?," 17 Dec. 2020 More than 90 congressional committees and subcommittees have jurisdiction over DHS — unlike, for example, the Defense Department, which is controlled by a single authorizing committee. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, "Former Homeland Security leaders want congressional oversight streamlined," 10 Nov. 2020 In San Antonio, the mayor and City Council don’t campaign on partisan tickets — unlike in Dallas, Austin and Houston, where the incumbent mayors are all Democrats. Joshua Fechter, ExpressNews.com, "‘Rooted in our community’ — Nirenberg endorses Gina Ortiz Jones in race for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District," 14 Oct. 2020 Widely assumed to have presidential aspirations, Cotton has also deftly managed to avoid being seen as a Trump yes-man — unlike, say, Senator Lindsey Graham — while remaining a favorite of the president’s. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "What Will Post-Pandemic GOP Politics Look Like?," 8 Apr. 2020 Type 1 Diabetes, unlike Type 2, which can develop over time due to unhealthy habits, is an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, a hormone necessary for regulating blood sugar. Los Angeles Times, "Baylor star Lauren Cox hasn’t let diabetes stop her WNBA dreams," 16 Apr. 2020 By its very nature, sound, unlike vision, is relatively undirected. Norm Friesen, The Conversation, "4 weird things that happen when you videoconference," 1 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition But unlike many other potential GOP presidential contenders, Christie is not afraid to publicly talk about his national aspirations. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, "Christie says 2016 White House run flameout wouldn't handicap him in 2024," 1 Jan. 2021 And now, unlike earlier in the pandemic, people are making long-term moves, not just temporary relocations, to escape Covid-19 or its effects on their quality of life. NBC News, "Millions of Americans moved during the pandemic — and most aren't looking back," 1 Jan. 2021 East Bank interests proposed cutting a seaway eastward through Lake Borgne to the Mississippi Sound, an idea not unlike the Ship Island Canal scheme from the late 1860s. Richard Campanella, NOLA.com, "acquisition of 1,100 acres," 1 Jan. 2021 But unlike 2017, Bitcoin's 2020 bull run hasn't stopped — on Wednesday, Bitcoin traded at more than $28,000. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "Is Bitcoin here to stay? How cryptocurrency could transform over next decade," 1 Jan. 2021 Automation and artificial intelligence firms are prospering because their products, unlike humans, are immune to COVID-19, and that’s attractive to businesses looking to maintain or increase productivity. Greg Jefferson, ExpressNews.com, "Jefferson: ‘Germ-zapping robots’ are hot. So are new homes. But for other San Antonio industries, 2021 spells misery," 31 Dec. 2020 And unlike a patio heater, this appliance is a good bit more versatile. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Patio Heaters To Beat The Winter Chill," 31 Dec. 2020 The state faces law enforcement challenges unlike anywhere else in the United States. Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska requires that DNA be collected from people arrested for violent crimes. Many police agencies have ignored that.," 31 Dec. 2020 But unlike Kennedy, none have come close to succeeding. USA Today, "On a planet where you cannot breathe, is living on Mars the best idea?," 30 Dec. 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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Statistics for unlike

Last Updated

21 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unlike.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unlike. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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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