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

Definition of unprecedented

  1. :  having no precedent :  novel, unexampled



Examples of unprecedented in a sentence

  1. … 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. The team has enjoyed unprecedented success this year.

  8. This level of growth is unprecedented.

  9. An unprecedented number of students are taking the class.


First Known Use of unprecedented


UNPRECEDENTED Defined for English Language Learners


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

Definition of unprecedented for English Language Learners

  • : not done or experienced before

UNPRECEDENTED Defined for Kids


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

Definition of unprecedented for Students

  1. :  not done or experienced before The event was unprecedented.

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