Students use term ‘Unicorn’ to identify ideal person


Sweaty palms. Racing heart. It’s undeniable that attraction can do funny things to a person. And typically, it takes meeting and pleasant conversation to spark an interest between individuals. But can an interest spark without ever actually knowing someone? K-State students say ‘yes,’ and, lo and behold, the word ‘unicorn’ is useful to give the situation more meaning.

“The term, ‘unicorn’ comes into play because this person would be relatively out of reach,” said Ellesha LeCluyse, senior in food science and biology. “A figment of your imagination, per se, just like the mythical creature that we call a unicorn.”

To put it simply, Jenn Timmons, sophomore in pre-professional elementary education, said a unicorn is the ideal person you want to date.

But how long has this term been around? According to, people have defined the word as such since 2006. But there are also students who have never heard of the term.

Ariel Sinha, senior in women studies, said she had never heard the expression before her roommate brought it up a few days ago. Since hearing of it, she admitted she has one.

Quinn Conrad, senior in communication studies, said the he heard the term ‘unicorn’ most often when he lived in his fraternity house two years ago.

“Fraternity houses are like a cleaner locker room,” he said. “Where ‘locker room talk’ happens.”

While locker room talk could be associated with inappropriate commentary between men, LeCluyse said getting called a unicorn should not be taken as anything but a compliment.

“It could be viewed as offensive if you are using the term simply to objectify another person, but I feel that it should be flattering,” she said. “If you are offended by the fact that someone else thinks you are totally awesome, then you are obviously confused about life.”

So while students agreed that being a unicorn is a good thing, does that mean that having one is good, too? According to Timmons and LeCluyse, you don’t have to call it by that term for it to mean the same thing and that more people have unicorns and just don’t realize it.

“I think it’s common for people to have a unicorn whether they classify it as that or not,” LeCluyse said.

And in many cases, a unicorn could be classified as one specific person only you admire. According to, “Everyone’s unicorn is rare to them.”

On the contrary, celebrities could be examples of a not-so-rare unicorn. Timmons said famous people are the perfect unicorns because you can know a lot of information about them without ever having to talk to them.

But Conrad said that since celebrities and athletes are so high profile, more people notice them. That leads to the sharing of unicorns, which is not as fun. Instead, Conrad said a unicorn should remain unique to that specific person.

“There are always crushes on those types [celebrities], but I think a unicorn has to be someone in the realm of possibility,” he said.

And in the realm of all possible people, one can’t help but wonder which gender produces the most unicorns.

“In a perfect world, I would hope it would be even, but I think since girls are much prettier on average, I’d say guys have more unicorns,” Conrad said.

Perhaps, coinciding with all the mythical and majestic creature talk, this term is only an imaginary phrase used to identify a crush. Perhaps it is more. Regardless, if everyone has one, can you identify yours?