What does unilateral mean?

Definitions for unilateral
ˌyu nəˈlæt ər əluni·lat·er·al

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word unilateral.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. unilateral, one-sidedadjective

    involving only one part or side

    "unilateral paralysis"; "a unilateral decision"

  2. unilateraladjective

    tracing descent from either the paternal or the maternal line only


  1. unilateraladjective

    done by one side only

  2. unilateraladjective

    affecting only one side of the body

  3. unilateraladjective

    binding or affecting one party only


  1. unilateral

    Unilateralism is any doctrine or agenda that supports one-sided action. Such action may be in disregard for other parties, or as an expression of a commitment toward a direction which other parties may find disagreeable. As a word, unilateralism is attested from 1926, specifically relating to unilateral disarmament. The current, broader meaning emerges in 1964. It stands in contrast with multilateralism, the pursuit of foreign policy goals alongside allies. Unilateralism and multilateralism represent different policy approaches to international problems. When agreement by multiple parties is absolutely required—for example, in the context of international trade policies—bilateral agreements (involving two participants at a time) are usually preferred by proponents of unilateralism. Unilateralism may be preferred in those instances when it is assumed to be the most efficient, i.e., in issues that can be solved without cooperation. However, a government may also have a principal preference for unilateralism or multilateralism, and, for instance, strive to avoid policies that cannot be realized unilaterally or alternatively to champion multilateral solutions to problems that could well have been solved unilaterally. Unilateralism as first course of action can be viewed as an act of aggression or hard power, unilateral sanctions violate the United Nations Charter and inhibit development of developing countries.Unilateral action is often elected on behalf of independent leaders with nationalist tendencies and a strong distrust for the intentions of other countries' intervention. In recent years, unilateral action is adjacent with nationalism, protectionism and rejection towards institutions that embody multilateral approach. i.e, the United States adopting protectionist trade policy during the mi-2010s against the multilateral interests of the World Trade Organization.Unilateralism, if unprovoked, has the potential to disrupt the peaceful upholding of sovereignty and territorial integrity that global security depends upon. Unilateral coercive measures against smaller states put a strain on goals of sustainable development. Examples include arbitrarily imposed economic sanctions such as the United States embargo against Cuba.Typically, governments may argue that their ultimate or middle-term goals are served by a strengthening of multilateral schemes and institutions, as was many times the case during the period of the Concert of Europe.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Unilateraladjective

    being on one side only; affecting but one side; one-sided

  2. Unilateraladjective

    pertaining to one side; one-sided; as, a unilateral raceme, in which the flowers grow only on one side of a common axis, or are all turned to one side

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Unilateral

    ū-ni-lat′e-ral, adj. one-sided.—n. Unilateral′ity.—adv. Unilat′erally.

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of unilateral in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of unilateral in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of unilateral in a Sentence

  1. Foreign Affairs:

    This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do, i am angry and bitter. This isn't done between allies.

  2. State John Kerry:

    The only position we've taken is, let's not resolve this by unilateral action, let's resolve this through rule of law, through diplomacy, through negotiation, and we urge all nations to find a diplomatic solution rooted in international standards and rule of law.

  3. James Montague:

    For Majlinda Kelmendi to win a gold medal and stand on that podium will send a massive message to the world, when I went to Kosovo in December when the IOC ratified the original decision to recognize it, I met the deputy foreign minister -- he said this was the most important day in Kosovo's history since the unilateral declaration of independence in 2008.

  4. Kim Kye Gwan:

    His sudden and unilateral announcement to cancel the summit is something unexpected to us and we can not but feel great regret for it.

  5. Shinzo Abe:

    I find it highly meaningful that we have shared serious concerns over the continuation of unilateral behaviors that change the status quo and escalate tensions, such as large-scale reclamation and building of outposts in the South China Sea.

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Translations for unilateral

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"unilateral." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Jun 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/unilateral>.

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    • A. distinguish
    • B. interrogate
    • C. carry
    • D. observe

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