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ÚNICO

Latin Lemma

ūnĭcus

Latin Meaning

'one and no more; only, sole, single; alone of its kind, singular, uncommon, unparalleled, unique' (both ameliorative, 'unparalleled' and pejorative, 'singularly bad') L&S

While Lat. ūnĭcus is only used in the Vulgate New Testament by Luke to refer to an only child, translating Gk μονογενης, it is not used of Jesus as the only Son of God. Elsewhere in the New Testament (John, Hebrews, Epistle of John) μονογενης is translated into Lat. as unigenitus.

Spanish

Spanish Lemma

único

Spanish Variants

inflected forms; unico and inflected forms

Spanish POS

ADJ

Spanish Morphologically related words

únicamente, unicidad DLE

Ranking/frequency in Spanish

213 Davies 2017, 5153 CDEWP

Spanish First attestation

Con grant pïedat, sospiros e lloro, / e con çolloços, la Eglesia vos pide / que este estado, que es su thesoro, / de único papa, por vos non se oluide (CORDE: Pero López de Ayala, Rimado de Palacio, c1378-1406)

e nuestro señor el rey don Enrrique (Dios mantenga) es padron verdadero e unico de la dicha abbadia (CORDE: Anón., El obispo de Burgos da la canónica posesión de la abadía de Covarrubias a Juan González de Valladolid, 1395)

Spanish Historical frequency (per million words)

13C: 0.85 14C: 0.37 15C: 0.34 16C: 27.00 17C: 36.09 18C: 156.62 19C: 247.57 20C: 345.62 CDE
13C: 0.00 14C: 0.00 15C: 1.17 16C: 0.41 17C: 0.63 18C: 27.16 19C: 84.83 20C: 122.20 21C: 93.69 Enclave
- - - - - - - - 21C: 382.63 CORPESXXI

Spanish Semantic history

» 'single': generally precedes the noun like other quantifiers from 16C

San Atanasio, en la Vida de San Antonio Abad, dice que el único remedio para vencer los demonios es la continua memoria de Dios (CORDE: Fray Juan de los Ángeles, Tratado espiritual de cómo el alma ha de traer siempre a Dios delante de sí, 1607)

» with ameliorative value ('singularly good') when following the noun or when used predicatively from 16C

García, el médico celebradísimo y único (CDE: Lope de Vega (1562-1635), Cartas, 1598)

merece Espinel que V.e. le honre por hombre insigne en el verso latino y castellano, fuera de haber sido único en la música (CDE: Lope de Vega (1562-1635), Cartas, 1598)

» 'individual' from 16C. In this meaning it is treated as gradable.

no por esto Lipsio deja de ser aquel divino inventor de tan único estilo, que es lo mismo que sucede a V.m., único ingenio y inimitable (CDE: Lope de Vega (1562-1635), Cartas, 1598)

Spanish Collocational history

» In 16th-17th century Spanish único is very often used with hijo

mató a Orode, su viejo padre, y a su único hijo y treinta hermanos suyos (CORDE: Fernando de Rojas, La Celestina. Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea, c1499-1502)

» and when referring to Jesus as the only Son of God

Finalmente, embiándonos su único hijo, que es aquel verbo eterno vestido de nuestra carne (CORDE: Bernardo Pérez de Chinchón, La lengua de Erasmo nuevamente romançada por muy elegante estilo, 1533)

» but it also qualifies many other nouns

Y porque este único ejemplo basta para las nobles de nuestra edad, no traeré aquí otros que en gran multitud se me ofrecen (CORDE: Juan Justiniano, Instrucción de la mujer cristiana, de J.L. Vives, 1528)

» A crucial feature of Spanish seems to have been the eventual preference for preposed único over solo to indicate this same notion of ‘no other’. Único immediately challenges solo in 16C, when it gains significantly in frequency, and subsequently overtakes solo. This is an example in which the two words are probably used in a desire for stylistic variatio, showing that either was still possible:

Y si miramos lo que para nosotros sois y en nuestro respeto, sois el deseo del alma, el único paradero de nuestra vida, el propio y solo bien nuestro (CDE: Fray Luis de León (1527-1591), De los nombres de Cristo, 1559)

Portuguese

Portuguese Lemma

único

Portuguese Variants

inflected forms; unico and inflected forms

Portuguese POS

ADJ

Portuguese Morphologically related words

unicismo, unicista Houaiss

Portuguese First attestation

abraam que foy obediente de sacrificar que era unico & soo a elle (CDP: Clemente Sanches de Vercial, Sacramental, 1488?)

Portuguese Historical frequency (per million words)

13C: 3.63 14C: 0.00 15C: 0.35 16C: 8.57 17C: 51.65 18C: 72.48 19C: 321.55 20C: 367.12 CDP

French

French Lemma

unique

French Variants

inflected forms

French POS

ADJ

French Morphologically related words

uniquement, unicité Larousse

Ranking/frequency in French

402 Lonsdale & Le Bras 2009

French First attestation

nonobstant qu’elle soit capital et souverainne de tout le royaume et unique (FRANTEXT, Nicolas de Baye, Journal, 1400-1410)

French Historical frequency (per million words)

13C: 0 14C: 0 15C: 0 16C: 31 17C: 56 18C: 80 19C: 63 20C: 78 21C: 67 FRANTEXT

French Collocational history

» DMF observes that unique is often used in conjunction with seul in the specification of an only son, suggesting that it is used to emphasise the notion of ‘no other’, an important concept in a legal context

monseigneur le daulphin vostre seul et unique filz (DMF: Jean Juvénal des Ursins, Loquar, 1440)

Italian

Italian Lemma

unico

Italian POS

ADJ

Italian Morphologically related words

unicamente, unicità Zingarelli

Italian First attestation

E in Gesù Cristo unico suo figliuolo, verace segnore nostro (OVI: Bono Giamboni, Vizi e Virtudi, before 1292))

English

English Lemma

vnique

English Variants

none

English POS

ADJ

English Morphologically related words

uniquely, uniqueness

English First attestation

Engendring one eternitie, and by an alone vnique action [Fr. d'vne action vnique] neuer disturbed, his linage full of vnderstanding (OED: R. Dolman tr. P. de la Primaudaye French Acad. III. 6, 1601)

English Semantic history

‘The adjective was not fully naturalized until the second half of the 19th cent., and its use was sometimes deprecated; it was entered in H. J. Todd Johnson's Dict. Eng. Lang. (1818) as a foreign word and characterized as “an affected and useless term of modern times”.’ (OED)