: having no equal
Did You Know?
Trace nonpareil back to its Middle French origins, and you'll find that it comes from a term meaning "not equal." Pareil itself comes from a Vulgar Latin form of par, which means "equal." Nonpareil has served as an English adjective since the 15th century, and since about the turn of the 16th century, it has also functioned as a noun describing an individual of unequaled excellence. In 1612, Captain John Smith used the term in that noun sense (but with a now-archaic spelling): "Pocahontas, Powhatan's daughter ... was the very Nomparell of his kingdome, and at most not past 13 or 14 years of age." And as you may know, nonpareil is also the name of a chocolate candy covered with white sugar pellets.
The chef is well-known for his mastery at creating savory entrées, but it is his dessert creations that are nonpareil.
"Louis Armstrong was a God-gifted cultural amalgamation of all the best that America has to offer: He was an artist and humanitarian of the highest order.… [He] broke down artistic, racial, social, and cultural barriers. Using his nonpareil trumpet ability, he reinvented American music." — Jon Batiste, quoted in Billboard, 31 May 2017
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