unprecedented

adjective
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

London developers responded to strong global demand with an unprecedented number of high-end projects. Ruth Bloomfield, WSJ, "In Brexit Britain, London’s Empty New Penthouses Seek Owners," 15 Nov. 2018 Women had already made history leading up to Tuesday’s critical midterms, with a surge of female candidates filing to run for office in unprecedented numbers. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Here's How Many Women Will Head to Congress in January," 7 Nov. 2018 Across the country, 277 women were on the ballot Tuesday for Congress and governorships, an unprecedented number that included 210 House candidates. Isaac Stanley-becker, The Seattle Times, "Republicans keep control of the Senate; Democrats claim House majority," 7 Nov. 2018 Women are running for office in unprecedented numbers. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "With Kavanaugh Confirmed, It’s Time to Burn It Down," 6 Oct. 2018 State and local authorities have struggled as an unprecedented number of bodies pile up from Mexico's rising tide of violence. Fox News, "Residents complain about smell after 157 unidentified bodies discovered in morgue trailer in Mexico," 18 Sep. 2018 These new vehicles have added an unprecedented number of new miles driven in New York City, according to a recent analysis by traffic analyst Bruce Schaller. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Uber and Lyft are facing a major crackdown in New York City," 27 July 2018 The platform itself allows for major artists to rack up unprecedented commercial numbers. Stereo Williams, Billboard, "Drake's 2018 Has Been Huge. But Is He the Biggest Rapper Ever?," 13 July 2018 The most competitive category heading into the announcement, in my estimation, was best variety talk series, which pits all of late night's hosts — of which there is now an unprecedented number — against one another. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: Netflix and HBO Set to Compete on Equal Footing," 12 July 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

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unprecedented

The first known use of unprecedented was in 1641

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More Definitions for unprecedented

unprecedented

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of unprecedented

: not done or experienced before

unprecedented

adjective
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

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