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One of a Kind

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Antonio, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. Antonio Senior Member

    Monterrey
    Mexico/Spanish
    Hi Group,

    I heard a sentence like "He's one of a kind" what does it mean in the first place and I heard this phase from an object too"Take it easy, is one of a kind" what does it mean this context too? Can you give me some examples to understand better the context and the meaning.

    If I am missing an example, please let me know.

    Thanks in advance,
    Antonio.
     
  2. LadyBlakeney

    LadyBlakeney Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spain
    I have heard the expression in plural "We/They are one of a kind" << -- >>. I don't know if it means the same referring to just one person. I am curious about it, so English speakers please come to our rescue!

    Thanks,

    Lady B.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
  3. csisfun Junior Member

    Singapore
    Singapore/English
    << --- >>
    "One of a kind" can be translated into "unique" in layman's terms.

    "Their hair is one of a kind!!!"
    "Their hair is unique"

    Both mean the same.

    Perhaps this might help more,

    "Out of all the 10 watches that I have, this watch is one of a kind"
    It shows that the one watch is unique, special and different from all the other watches.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
  4. Pearl Senior Member

    Barcelona (Catalonia)
    Spain - Catalan, Spanish, English, Icelandic
    I certainly agree with you csisfun.

    Regards,

    Pearl
     
  5. Antonio Senior Member

    Monterrey
    Mexico/Spanish
    For me, this sentence "You're one of a kind" means you're very special to me and when you refer to an object like "Take it easy partner, is one of a kind" for me means worth gold or something like that, please correct me If I am wrong or if I am missing another meaning of this english phrase.

    Thanks in advance,
    Antonio.
     
  6. Sharon

    Sharon Senior Member

    United States, English
    In both instances, "kind" is used to mean a type, or category. Usually with an object, it means something irreplaceable - like an antique, or perhaps something homemade that has a sentimental value to the owner. "Please be careful with that, my child made it when he/she was little - it's one of a kind."
    When said about a person, it is usually a good thing, but not necessarily. If used with a sarcastic tone, it can be an insult, also.
     
  7. Antonio Senior Member

    Monterrey
    Mexico/Spanish
    But if you say to a person, "She's one of a kind" means she's special or very special to me? am I right or not? In what cases can be an insult too?

    If I am missing some other meaning, please let me know.

    Thanks in advance,
    Antonio.
     
  8. Sharon

    Sharon Senior Member

    United States, English
    Yes, you are right. But, as it refers to a type, or group, if said with a sarcastic tone of voice, it would be an insult. "Oh,her?! She's a one of a kind!" Implying: "Thankfully, there aren't many more like her."
    If you are saying it to mean the person is special, that is the way it will be taken.
     
  9. LadyBlakeney

    LadyBlakeney Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spain
    Thanks for clarifying this for me!
     
  10. theplanner Junior Member

    Velletri - Rome - Italy
    ITALY- Italian
    :)
    Oh yes, we're all one of a kind !
    :)

    That's the beautiful of life!

    ciao for now
    Enrico
     
  11. Tacocat Junior Member

    Lawrence, KS
    United States - English
    Hello there,
    I have to agree with the ideas conveyed by others above about "one of a kind" representing an idea of uniqueness. When you say that a person is "one of a kind," depending on the tone and context, you could be saying that this person's unique qualities make them a pleasant person to deal with or an unpleasant one. I have never heard anyone say "They're one of a kind" about a group of people or objects, however. I think that "they are one" simply sounds too much like an agreement error. If you are speaking about a group of people who each possess unique qualities, you could say "They're all real individuals." If you want to say that two people share similar, but fairly distinctive qualities, you can say that they're "two of a kind," but it would be rare to use this sort of expression for more than two people.
    I'd also like to note that I have never actually heard someone tell another person that they are "one of a kind" to praise their uniqueness or individuality; maybe the phrase isn't popular in my region (Midwestern U.S.) or among people of my age group (late 20's), but I'd be much more likely to tell someone that they were "special" or "an individual" or "a nonconformist" or even "unique" if I were complimenting them. Or, I might say something like "I appreciate/like you because you're not (just) like everyone else/because you don't follow the crowd/follow the herd."
    The most common employment of "one of a kind" that I can think of doesn't refer to people, but rather to objects, usually to handicrafts or pieces of art. Example sentence: "I like your bracelet, Beth. Where did you get it?" "Thank you; I made it myself, actually, so it's one of a kind." The fact that your example sentence included "it's one a kind" made me wonder whether the phrase might be describing an object rather than a person. Example: "Wow, what a beautiful piece of pottery! Can I pick it up and take a closer look?" "Hey, take it easy, it's one of a kind!" :)
    I hope this helps you, and if any of it seems confusing, please feel free to contact me for clarification, if needed.
     
  12. frost1588 New Member

    USA, English
    I see there is a lot of discussion here and I want to try and clarify. The phrase "one of a kind" means "unique," but it goes beyond that. "Unique" basically means there isn't anything else in the world like the object , but you have to see the contradiction in the phrase. "One" is clearly singular, but "kind" designates a group that possess common traits. So, the phrase is a form of overstatement or exagerration because no "one" thing can constitute a "kind." It's a really big compliment. It's like saying "you are a kind unto yourself." Or "your in your own class."
     
  13. Brooke K. New Member

    Chinese - Taiwan
    too bad while u're IMing, u cant sense the tone of the other party and there's no way to know whether they mean it sarcastically or sincerely.
     
  14. Dazun

    Dazun Senior Member

    thanxxx ... :D
     

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