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For information on the furry artist Unicorn, see Unicorn (artist).
Maelstrom, a fictional unicorn character in Extinctioners.

The unicorn is a legendary creature that resembles a horse, with a single, often spiral, horn growing out of its forehead. This horn, often called the alicorn is said to have miraculous healing abilities, including the ability to neutralize poisons and other toxins.


Though the popular image of the unicorn is that of a white horse with a horn, the traditional unicorn has a billy-goat beard, a lion's tail, and cloven hooves, which distinguish them from horses. Some unicorns have been depicted otherwise, including giving them zebra-like stripes or other unusual fur patterns and colors. One of the most notable examples of Unicorns with fantastical colors and patterns would be My Little Pony’s depiction of Unicorns through media such as its toy lines.


The qilin, a creature in Chinese mythology, is sometimes called "the Chinese unicorn", but it is not directly related to the classical Western unicorn. Currently, the word "kirin", in Japan, written with the same kanji (Chinese ideograms), is used to designate the giraffe as well as the mythical creature. Strangely, the Japanese mythological creature is usually portrayed as more closely resembling the Western Unicorn than the Chinese qilin, even though it is based on the Chinese myth. They can have one or occasionally two horns.

Monoceratic character traits[edit]

Unicorns typically have many character personality traits attributed to them. Due to the range of mythology and differing perception of their symbolism, western unicorns and eastern unicorns (Kirin or alternatively Qilin) are somewhat distinct from one another, modern and traditional unicorns vary to a lesser degree as well. Some classical and popular traits:

  • Most modernly akin to horses, although traditionally less so and not technically equine but known as a chimera, possessing some horse-like qualities and personality but less socially inclined, not herd oriented, possibly even a lone star.
  • Traditional western unicorns are typically mysterious maybe even misunderstood, magickally gifted, woke in some or all ways, pure of heart and peaceful, often very shy or perhaps even often gone unseen, they tend to retreat to whatever or wherever they claim to be their inner sanctum for varying periods of time and aren't often seen, making something of an enigma of themselves, admittedly subject to vanity but never arrogance, they are often soft and sensitive, empathetic and virtuous, and very wise, but they do hide a wild side for they are noted to be potentially fierce when they need to be, but gracious towards their environment and animal friends big or small, can purify poison and negativity with the flick of their horn, and only trusts those who have a pure heart and innocent spirit.
  • Modern western unicorns sport a more prominent equine appearance and personality bringing a more familiar and earthlike appearance to mind but still quite distinct from a horse physically and mentally, with its most single defining feature being the traditional horn. Perhaps typically a bit more socially active than traditional unicorns, still maybe even less so than genuine horses but also somewhat of a social butterfly. They are hip, savvy, fun, and maybe personally popular and talented in some way, pretty woke and very progressive, intelligent, fabulous, and sympathetic for they are there for the ones they care for.
  • Traditional eastern unicorns (qilins/kirins) are perhaps far more fantastical than the western unicorns, being a chimera that has more parts and bearing the appearance of an eastern dragon and western unicorn hybrid, and are said to have brilliant bejeweled hides. It is said their auspicious voice sounds like the tinkling of bells or chimes and the wind, they sport a formidable look and are capable of absolute ferociousity but only punish the wicked, making them quite the SJW and not a creature to be trifled with, though fear not, they possess a clear sense of right from wrong, albeit a little judgemental, they have the grace of a unicorn and fierceness of a dragon rolled into one. They burn with compassion and righteousness, quite literally as they are typically capable of using fire at will, but other individual quilins/kirins can use various elemental abilities with a level of diversity akin to dragons. Like traditional unicorns they can sense who is innocent and who is not but they are not quite as shy, and they are depicted to be so gentle and benevolent as to not harm even a single blade of grass so they can essentially walk on air and clouds all to avoid harming anyone and anything. Very thoughtful, perhaps even a little self-sacrificing for the greater good of others, selfless and sagacious. When a good person is victimized, quilin/Kirin is there to help stick up for those in need, capable of spouting elemental breath, like fire for example, such as a dragon. A powerful unicorn indeed.
  • Traditional western unicorns typically have the body and mane of a horse, head and hooves of a deer, tail of a lion, horn of a narwhal, with or without the beard of a billy goat.
  • Modern western unicorns usually have the exact body and build of a horse, but most notably the classic telltale horn of a true unicorn.
  • Traditional eastern unicorns (kirins/quilins) typically have the body of a horse, hooves of a deer, full or partial scales and whiskers of a carp, the beard and mane of a lion, the antlered horn of a stag, and head and tail of an eastern dragon.


Modern fantasy fiction tends to perpetuate the medieval notion of a unicorn as a beast with magical qualities or powers. Unicorns notably appear in:


Alicorn historically means the substance that a unicorn's horn is made of.[1] It was considered by alchemists to have medicinal properties. Alicorn is also used to define the horn atop the forehead of this creature and unicorns.

Winged unicorn[edit]

Alicorn has also been used as early as 1984 by Piers Anthony in his novel "Bearing an Hourglass" to mean winged unicorn (a concept that had already been existence for decades without being called alicorn), which he defined as the cross between a unicorn and a griffin. In modern times, it is an equine creature which is a cross between a unicorn and a pegasus. This has alternatively been called flying unicorn, pegacorn, or unisus.


Actually, there are pictures of the Chinese/Japanese "Kilin/Kirin" where wings are added to the horned creature. The British air force used a horned Pegasus as their logo in World War II. 1983's "Whisper the Winged Unicorn" and 1985 She-Ra's "Swift Wind" predated all the pop culture internet artists.

This did not settle with traditional mythologists, who argued that the unicorn was a wingless creature and that only pegasus had wings. However since the winged unicorn had become such a favorite in pop culture, it became a creature of its own right.


  1. Wiktionary

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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