Quick Summary

The prefix uni- which means “one” is an important prefix in the English language. For instance, the prefix uni- gave rise to the words unicycle, uniform, and unison. Perhaps the easiest way to remember that uni- means “one” is through the word unicorn, or mythological horse that had “one” horn.

One at a Time

The prefix uni- which means “one” is an important prefix in the English language. Let’s see how this prefix works with more than just “one” example!

A unicorn, for instance, is a mythological horse that had “one” horn sprouting from its forehead. The universe is etymologically all of perceptible creation turned into “one” entirety. A university is a place that has been turned into “one” area of learning for both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Imagine going to a circus. You might see performers doing stunts on unicycles, or bicycles with just “one” wheel instead of two. These performers would probably be in uniforms, so that they all appear to make “one” outward shape. They might also perform in a unified fashion, all doing the same moves at the same time. They might even sing in unison, all in “one” sound!

A union of two people in marriage makes them “one” couple. Speaking of political unions, the states of the United States all form “one” nation. The motto of the United States is, appropriately, e pluribus unum, or “one” nation formed from many peoples.

The Latin number unus, “one,” gave rise to many similar sounding number “ones” in the Romance languages. French has both un and une, Spanish has uno, and Italian likewise has uno, to name a few. The last two numbers remind us of the card game Uno, where each player tries to get down to “one” card before calling out “Uno!”

I hope that this unique list of words which explain the “one” prefix uni- is helpful in your various subjects’ units in school!

  1. unicorn: horse with ‘one’ horn
  2. Universe: creation turned into ‘one’ totality
  3. university: ‘one’ area of academic learning for graduate and undergraduate degrees
  4. unicycle: bicycle with ‘one’ wheel instead of two
  5. uniform: clothes which give ‘one’ shape
  6. unified: made as ‘one’
  7. unison: making ‘one’ sound
  8. union: a making of ‘one’ from different parts
  9. United States: states made into ‘one’ nation
  10. e pluribus unum: ‘one’ from many
  11. unique: pertaining to something of which there is only ‘one’ example
  12. unit: ‘one’ of a whole range of things


  • unison

    Doing something in unison is doing it all together at one time.

  • unanimous

    All people involved in a unanimous decision agree or are united in their opinion about something.

  • unilateral

    A unilateral decision is entirely one-sided, involving only one facet of an issue or one country among many.

  • reunion

    a party of former associates who have come together again

  • unanimity

    everyone being of one mind

  • unicorn

    an imaginary creature represented as a white horse with a long horn growing from its forehead

  • unicycle

    ride a unicycle

  • unification

    an occurrence that involves the production of a union

  • unified

    formed or united into a whole

  • uniform

    provide with uniforms

  • unify

    become one

  • union

    being of or having to do with the northern United States and those loyal to the Union during the American Civil War

  • unionist

    a worker who belongs to a trade union

  • unionize

    recruit for a union or organize into a union

  • unique

    radically distinctive and without equal

  • unit

    any division of quantity accepted as a standard of measurement or exchange

  • unite

    join or combine

  • unity

    an undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting

  • universe

    everything that exists anywhere

  • university

    the body of faculty and students at a university

Differentiated vocabulary for your students is just a click away.