יחיד בדורו

amikama

a mi modo
עברית
The expression יחיד בדורו describes a person who is (or was) an extraordinary phenomenon, that no one of his time is/was comparable to him. For example:
אלברט אינשטיין היה יחיד בדורו.

Is there a similar expression in English?
 
  • Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    The closest expression is "one of a kind", though it doesn't have the time part of the meaning. However, I believe that in many instances it is sufficient to translate the idea.

    You could say "one of a kind in his time", but this sounds a bit awkward to me.
     

    rosemarino

    Senior Member
    USA
    U.S. English
    English does have the expression "once in a generation," which also includes the idea of בדורו. But this could refer to an event or phenomenon, not necessarily to a person. I suppose you could say, "He was a once in a generation phenomenon."
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    I could suggest "in a class by itself" but this too is inaccurate, missing the generation/era part.

     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    Latin "sui generis" is used sometimes in English, but doesn't seem to be a better match or more idiomatic than "one of a kind" or "in a class by itself" proposed above (and immediately rejected by those who proposed). Its meaning it practically the same as the two English proposals. It could be nice using "generis" for "generation" דור but this non-coincidental similarity doesn't seem to work here.
     
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