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unicorn

[yoo-ni-kawrn] /ˈyu nɪˌkɔrn/
noun
1.
a mythical creature resembling a horse, with a single horn in the center of its forehead: often symbolic of chastity or purity.
2.
a heraldic representation of this animal, in the form of a horse with a lion's tail and with a long, straight, and spirally twisted horn.
3.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Monoceros.
4.
an animal mentioned in the Bible, Deut. 33:17: now believed by some to be a description of a wild ox or rhinoceros.
5.
a former gold coin of Scotland, first issued by James III in 1486, having an obverse bearing the figure of a unicorn.
Origin
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English unicorne (< Old French) < Latin ūnicornis one-horned, equivalent to uni- uni- + corn(ū) horn + -is adj. suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for unicorn
  • My daily-driver unicorn is easily spooked by sneaky hybrids.
  • For centuries narwhal tusks were linked to the legend of the unicorn and believed to have medicinal, even magical, powers.
  • The resemblance between narwhal tusks and the unicorn horns seen in paintings is remarkable.
  • Today, self-described cryptozoologists range from amateur unicorn hunters to distinguished scientists.
  • Let's talk about the hummingbird, which a lot of people think is kind of a unicorn on wings, all sweetness and light.
  • If so, you're a unicorn who dances between the rain drops.
  • Once on the second planet they find fantastic life forms, including a verbose unicorn.
  • You're pretty much equating searching for life on other worlds than our own to searching for the invisible pink unicorn.
  • No one is claiming to have discovered the latter mythical unicorn.
  • Theology is about as valid as field of study as unicorn-ology or invisible pink dragon-ology.
British Dictionary definitions for unicorn

unicorn

/ˈjuːnɪˌkɔːn/
noun
1.
an imaginary creature usually depicted as a white horse with one long spiralled horn growing from its forehead
2.
(Old Testament) a two-horned animal, thought to be either the rhinoceros or the aurochs (Deuteronomy 33:17): mistranslation in the Authorized Version of the original Hebrew
Word Origin
C13: from Old French unicorne, from Latin ūnicornis one-horned, from ūnus one + cornu a horn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unicorn
n.

early 13c., from Old French unicorne, from Late Latin unicornus (Vulgate), from noun use of Latin unicornis (adj.) "having one horn," from uni- "one" (see uni-) + cornus "horn" (see horn (n.)).

The Late Latin word translates Greek monoceros, itself rendering Hebrew re'em, which was probably a kind of wild ox. According to Pliny, a creature with a horse's body, deer's head, elephant's feet, lion's tail, and one black horn two cubits long projecting from its forehead. Cf. German Einhorn, Welsh ungorn, Breton uncorn, Old Church Slavonic ino-rogu.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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unicorn in Culture

unicorn definition


A mythical animal resembling a small horse but with a long, straight horn growing out of its forehead. Often it was described as having the legs of a deer and the tail of a lion. Some sources claim it was visible only to virgins.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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unicorn in the Bible

described as an animal of great ferocity and strength (Num. 23:22, R.V., "wild ox," marg., "ox-antelope;" 24:8; Isa. 34:7, R.V., "wild oxen"), and untamable (Job 39:9). It was in reality a two-horned animal; but the exact reference of the word so rendered (reem) is doubtful. Some have supposed it to be the buffalo; others, the white antelope, called by the Arabs rim. Most probably, however, the word denotes the Bos primigenius ("primitive ox"), which is now extinct all over the world. This was the auerochs of the Germans, and the urus described by Caesar (Gal. Bel., vi.28) as inhabiting the Hercynian forest. The word thus rendered has been found in an Assyrian inscription written over the wild ox or bison, which some also suppose to be the animal intended (comp. Deut. 33:17; Ps. 22:21; 29:6; 92:10).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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