un·prec·e·dent·ed | \ˌən-ˈpre-sə-ˌden-təd \

Definition of unprecedented 

: having no precedent : novel, unexampled

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Other Words from unprecedented

unprecedentedly adverb

Examples of unprecedented in a Sentence

… on one occasion, a president (Eisenhower) refers to himself as "conservative." Four years later, the Republican presidential nominee (Goldwater) announces that he is "a conservative." Another sixteen years later, Ronald Reagan, a self-declared conservative, is elected president by an overwhelming majority. By that time—1980—more Americans identify themselves as conservatives than as liberals. This was, and remains, a tectonic transformation, unprecedented in American history. — John Lukacs, Harper's, March 2008 Faced with an unprecedented crisis that combines cyclical turbulence with metastasizing digital technology that steals away revenue and readers at an alarming and seemingly accelerating rate (while offering newspapers only stingy payoffs), publishers and editors everywhere have thrown away their rule books—and, to find their way in this new and alien environment, are ready to implement previously unthinkable changes. — Mark Fitzgerald et al., Editor & Publisher, August 2008 Many of the forces that initially sent the economy into a tailspin in 1929 and 1930 have been at work in the 2000s as well: a stock-market boom turned bust, a real estate boom turned bust, unprecedented levels of consumer debt. — Justin Fox, Time, 10 Mar. 2008 Shakespeare served as exemplar of the writer who achieved success, and an unprecedented degree of financial reward, from his pen alone. — Jonathan Bate, Harper's, April 2007 Fan fiction … was once mainly a fringe pursuit. Now, it's changing the world of fiction, as Internet exposure helps unknown authors find mainstream success. Some Web sites are attracting unprecedented numbers of readers and, in some cases, leading to book deals. — John Jurgensen, Wall Street Journal, 16–17 Sept. 2006 Shocking as it is, more than a month after the hurricane hit, New Orleans is still, for all practical purposes, a ghost town. The entire population has left—an unprecedented situation in modern times in any major city anywhere. — Tom Piazza, Why New Orleans Matters, 2005 The team has enjoyed unprecedented success this year. This level of growth is unprecedented. An unprecedented number of students are taking the class.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Stores shut down after unprecedented lines at malls nationwide » Build-A-Bear lines cut short on ‘Pay Your Age’ day in metro Atlanta Get your voucher. Sonja Haller, ajc, "How to get your $15 voucher after the failed Pay Your Age event at Build-a-Bear," 13 July 2018 Isaac Babcock Yankeetown has chosen a different — and unprecedented — approach, focusing instead on the natural environment as an economic engine and natural protector against higher water and more extreme weather. Amy Green, miamiherald, "With Gov. Scott and legislature in denial, tiny town adapts on its own to climate change," 11 July 2018 But even if the bike did not independently modernize American medicine, its unprecedented impact on fitness — and the clash this revealed between what doctors said and what experience showed — may well have accelerated the shift. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Wheel, the Woman, and the Human Body," 6 July 2018 Given The Kissing Booth's unprecedented popularity, many fans are waiting with bated breath to see if there will be a follow-up film, one that perhaps answers questions left open by that cliffhanger ending. Brianna Wiest, Teen Vogue, ""The Kissing Booth" Stars Joey King and Joel Courtney Play Truth or Dare," 2 July 2018 The surge of candidates running for public office in Arizona this year has brought an unprecedented wave of lawsuits trying to get people removed from the ballot — and many have been successful. Dustin Gardiner, azcentral, "Arizona elections: Which candidates got knocked off the 2018 ballot?," 29 June 2018 In an unprecedented moment on Carpool Karaoke, James Corden handed the wheel over to one of the most legendary musicians of all time: Sir Paul McCartney. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Paul McCartney Brought James Corden to Tears During a Legendary 'Carpool Karaoke' Ride," 22 June 2018 Additionally the public, as opposed to record labels, now has an unprecedented ability to choose hits by simply streaming them or creating a viral meme. Dj Louie Xiv, Vanities, "Has 2018 Killed the Pop Star?," 22 June 2018 Now, given the unprecedented events of the past week, her gown has once again become a symbol. Ruby Buddemeyer, Marie Claire, "People Think Ivanka Trump's Dress Looks a Lot Like Immigrant Children's Blankets," 20 June 2018

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

1641, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for unprecedented

The first known use of unprecedented was in 1641

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More Definitions for unprecedented



English Language Learners Definition of unprecedented

: not done or experienced before


un·prec·e·dent·ed | \ˌən-ˈpre-sə-ˌden-təd \

Kids Definition of unprecedented

: not done or experienced before The event was unprecedented.

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Comments on unprecedented

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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