General English


  • noun a single product for sale
  • noun a single share in a unit trust



  • noun a separate piece of equipment or furniture
  • noun a group of people set up for a special purpose


  • noun a single machine, possibly with many different parts


  • An item, group, structure, or entity which is regarded as a single entity or whole. 2. A unit (1) which is a part of a larger item, group, structure, or entity. For example, a control unit, a data unit, a logic unit, or a crystal unit.
  • A piece, part, or assembly which can independently perform one or more functions. For instance, a radar unit, an amplifier, a power pack, or a rectifier unit.
  • An amount or magnitude of a physical quantity, such as mass or distance, which is utilized as a standard to express such quantities or magnitudes. For example, the defined SI unit for mass is the kilogram, and the meter serves to express distances. Such units are also used in multiples to state values, as in picogram, or kilometer. Also called unit of measurement.


  • noun a single part of a larger whole, or a single item of several

Information & Library Science

  • noun a small part of a large organisation with a specialised purpose


  • noun a part of a hospital that has a specialised function
  • noun a named and agreed standard amount used for measuring something
  • noun a quantity of a drug, enzyme, hormone or of blood, taken as a standard for measurement and producing a given effect


  • noun a military grouping with its own organization and command structure


  • a measure of alcohol intake used in monitoring the effects of alcohol on the body. One unit is roughly equivalent to the alcohol in one glass of wine or a single measure of spirits.

Origin & History of “unit”

The term unit was given general currency by the 16th-century English mathematician, astrologer, and magician John Dee. It was formed from Latin ūnus, probably on the analogy of digit, and used as a mathematical term to replace unity as a translation of Euclid’s monás ‘indivisible number’. In a comment added to his introduction to Sir Henry Billingsley’s translation of Euclid, Dee wrote ‘Note the word unit to express the Greek monas, and not unity: as we have all commonly until now used’.