nonpareil

Use nonpareil to describe someone or something that is beyond compare, an absolute model of perfection of a particular thing. Jane Austen was a writer nonpareil, and James Bond a spy nonpareil.

Coming from the medieval French words non, meaning "not," and pareil, meaning "equal," so quite literally it means "not equal" or "unequaled." Like a lot of fancy French terms adopted by the English language (e.g., "bons mots," "eminence gris"), the use of nonpareil is generally restricted to written form. Use with caution.

Primary Meanings of nonpareil

1.
nadj
model of excellence or perfection of a kind; one having no equal
eminent beyond or above comparison
2.
n
colored beads of sugar used as a topping on e.g. candies and cookies
Full Definitions of nonpareil
1

n model of excellence or perfection of a kind; one having no equal

Synonyms:
apotheosis, ideal, nonesuch, nonsuch, paragon, saint
Types:
crackerjack, jimdandy, jimhickey
someone excellent of their kind
class act
someone who shows impressive and stylish excellence
humdinger
someone of remarkable excellence
Type of:
model, role model
someone worthy of imitation

adj eminent beyond or above comparison

“the team's nonpareil center fielder”
Synonyms:
matchless, one, one and only, peerless, unmatchable, unmatched, unrivaled, unrivalled
incomparable, uncomparable
such that comparison is impossible; unsuitable for comparison or lacking features that can be compared
2

n colored beads of sugar used as a topping on e.g. candies and cookies

Type of:
confection, sweet
a food rich in sugar

n a flat disk of chocolate covered with beads of colored sugar

Type of:
chocolate candy
candy made with chocolate

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.