Saturday, 21 January 2012


Entry:    non-pareil (adj.)

Definition:  Having no equal; unrivalled, incomparable, peerless, unique. In later use freq. as postmodifier.

Other:    Isn’t this a great word?  Pretty clearly of French origin.  To my ears, it resounds much more strongly as a postmodifier now – the usage examples seem strained.

1977    New Yorker 6 June 120/3   McKenna ignored this fashion and championed his left hand, which is nonpareil.

1818    Amer. Monthly Mag. 3 181/2   Now for a picture of the nonpareil De Courcy—this Adonis, Apollo, and Hercules of eighteen.

1645    J. Tombes Anthropolatria 8   Some magnified Peter, as nonparil.

The best, though, is:

a1500    Hymnal in R. S. Loomis Medieval Stud. in Memory G. S. Loomis (1927) 445   To whos myghty power and nowimparaile, All creaturys owyth humble obeissaunce.

SNOOT score:   3 

Page:   33

Source:   Oxford English Dictionary


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