un·​prec·​e·​dent·​ed | \ ˌən-ˈpre-sə-ˌden-təd How to pronounce unprecedented (audio) \

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 For educators and students in Roseau, this wild and unprecedented school year could not have ended in a more fitting way. Reid Forgrave, Star Tribune, 4 June 2021 Although touching the Queen is thought to be taboo and almost unprecedented, former first lady Michelle Obama raised eyebrows during a G-20 reception at Buckingham Palace in 2009. Libby Cathey, ABC News, 3 June 2021 During the difficult and unprecedented times, and the depression and anxiety that came with it, Prescott reached out to his support system. Dallas News, 1 June 2021 Haskins drew a lot of attention for his unprecedented (for OSU) counting stats — over 4,800 yards and 50 touchdowns. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 28 May 2021 While states have largely opened up, these parents now face a knock-on crisis: Child-care programs are contending with massive and unprecedented staffing shortages, leading to fewer spots and long waiting lists. Washington Post, 26 May 2021 The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama leads a global network of forest research sites to conduct unprecedented and long-term conservation research. Lonnie G. Bunch Iii, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 May 2021 This warm weather is unusual but not unprecedented. BostonGlobe.com, 17 May 2021 The resulting environmental damage in Bangladesh is unprecedented and massive. Leonard Hammer, The Conversation, 13 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for unprecedented

Time Traveler

The first known use of unprecedented was in 1641

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Statistics for unprecedented

Last Updated

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unprecedented.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unprecedented. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce unprecedented (audio) \

Kids Definition of unprecedented

: not done or experienced before The event was unprecedented.


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