un·​prec·​e·​dent·​ed ˌən-ˈpre-sə-ˌden-təd How to pronounce unprecedented (audio)
: having no precedent : novel, unexampled
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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The unprecedented decision to exclude an undefeated Power Five conference champion from the playoff was met with fierce backlash on Sunday, including from the governor. Misty Severi, Washington Examiner, 5 Dec. 2023 Criminal cases against American officials accused of doing Cuba’s bidding are rare but not unprecedented. Joshua Goodman and Eric Tucker, The Christian Science Monitor, 5 Dec. 2023 As a result, the cost of buying a home relative to renting has reached unprecedented highs. Nicolas Rapp, Fortune, 3 Dec. 2023 These unprecedented findings suggested to Horton’s team that the helium came not from the mantle but from an even deeper source: Earth’s core. Tom Metcalfe, Scientific American, 2 Dec. 2023 The rate of investment might be unprecedented, but the actual plan is not: neither the aim to transform the kingdom into a video game hub nor to acquire a leading publisher. Lewis Gordon, The Verge, 1 Dec. 2023 Nonetheless, the team’s need for a major addition — especially in the wake of their latest postseason disappointment — could prompt the club into an unprecedented spending spree. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2023 Despite evidence showing that shoppers recently have pulled back, data from consumer surveys indicate that overall spending is expected to hit unprecedented levels this holiday season. Carly Olson, Los Angeles Times, 24 Nov. 2023 By several measures, an unprecedented number of top election officials have retired or quit since 2020, many in response to rising threats and partisan interference in their jobs. Michael Wines, New York Times, 22 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unprecedented.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1641, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unprecedented was in 1641

Dictionary Entries Near unprecedented

Cite this Entry

“Unprecedented.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unprecedented. Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


un·​prec·​e·​dent·​ed ˌən-ˈpres-ə-ˌdent-əd How to pronounce unprecedented (audio)
: having no precedent : not done or experienced before
an unprecedented achievement

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