What word does your mother always say?


[yoo-nit] /ˈyu nɪt/
a single thing or person.
any group of things or persons regarded as an entity:
They formed a cohesive unit.
one of the individuals or groups that together constitute a whole; one of the parts or elements into which a whole may be divided or analyzed.
one of a number of things, organizations, etc., identical or equivalent in function or form:
a rental unit; a unit of rolling stock.
any magnitude regarded as an independent whole; a single, indivisible entity.
Also called dimension. any specified amount of a quantity, as of length, volume, force, momentum, or time, by comparison with which any other quantity of the same kind is measured or estimated.
the least positive integer; one.
Also called unit's place.
  1. (in a mixed number) the position of the first digit to the left of the decimal point.
  2. (in a whole number) the position of the first digit from the right of the decimal point.
a machine, part, or system of machines having a specified purpose; apparatus:
a heating unit.
Education. a division of instruction centering on a single theme.
Military. an organized body of soldiers, varying in size and constituting a subdivision of a larger body.
  1. the measured amount of a substance necessary to cause a certain effect; a clinical quantity used when a substance cannot be readily isolated in pure form and its activity determined directly.
  2. the amount necessary to cause a specific effect upon a specific animal or upon animal tissues.
  1. an identity element.
  2. an element in a group, ring, etc., that possesses an inverse.
Origin of unit
1570; coined by John Dee as a translation of Greek mónas (previously rendered as unity); perhaps influenced by digit
Related forms
interunit, adjective
multiunit, adjective
subunit, noun
superunit, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for units
  • Each secondary lobule is composed of several primary lobules, the anatomical units of the lung.
  • What makes this census important is the quality of the units that compose it.
  • The units would operate best at low humidity and would be best deployed in deserts.
  • The territories have been given new names, or divided into smaller units or incorporated into larger ones.
  • They were the pride of their units and it was acknowledged that they provided the morale boosting so badly needed.
  • Memes are complex units, distinct and memorable-units with staying power.
  • In the cold rooms, boxes containing flowers are attached to refrigeration units that infuse them with chilled air.
  • Soldiers from both sides made drawings and signed their names and units on the walls.
  • Some units were able to set up field kitchens and get hot meals in the bush.
  • Software inside the units plots your position on a map.
British Dictionary definitions for units


a single undivided entity or whole
any group or individual, esp when regarded as a basic element of a larger whole
a mechanical part or integrated assembly of parts that performs a subsidiary function: a filter unit
a complete system, apparatus, or establishment that performs a specific function: a production unit
a subdivision of a larger military formation
Also called unit of measurement. A standard amount of a physical quantity, such as length, mass, energy, etc, specified multiples of which are used to express magnitudes of that physical quantity: the second is a unit of time
the amount of a drug, vaccine, etc, needed to produce a particular effect
a standard measure used in calculating alcohol intake and its effect
  1. (usually pl) the first position in a place-value counting system, representing a single-digit number: in the decimal system the number 27 has 7 units and 2 tens
  2. (modifier) having a value defined as one for the system: unit vector
(maths, logic) Also called unit set. a set having a single member
short for home unit
short for stock unit
(NZ) a self-propelled railcar
Word Origin
C16: back formation from unity, perhaps on the model of digit
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 units



1560s, "single number regarded as an undivided whole," alteration of unity on the basis of digit. Popularized in John Dee's English translation of Euclid, to express Greek monas (Dee says unity formerly was used in this sense). Meaning "single thing regarded as a member of a group" is attested from 1640s. Extended sense of "a quantity adopted as a standard of measure" is from 1738. Sense of "group of wards in a hospital" is attested from 1893.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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units in Medicine

unit u·nit (yōō'nĭt)

  1. An entity regarded as an elementary structural or functional constituent of a whole.

  2. A precisely specified quantity in terms of which the magnitudes of other quantities of the same kind can be stated.

  3. The quantity of a serum, drug, or other agent necessary to produce a specific effect.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for units



: Quentin Crisp croaks in a nasal monotone like a twinkie Mr Magoo modifier: I found this gorgeous twink carpenter in the Mission

  1. A young, sexually attractive person; tempting teenager: You know, the twink who used to be Fielding's lover/ The Weemawee twinkies troop out to the kickoff line
  2. A weird or deviant person, esp a homosexual; a social outcast: They think ''twinky'' or sissy or something like that/ Rafi comes on strong, but he's a twink at heart

[1963+; origin uncertain]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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