What Do Unicorns Symbolize?

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What Do Unicorns Symbolize

A unicorn is one of the most recognizable mythical creatures. They are always seen on mainstream media along with mermaids and fairies. Sometimes, they’re also plush toys, floaters, stickers, and even lattes.

It’s such a ubiquitous creature, but it has to be more than just a trendy figure, right? Even Winnie the Pooh represents something.

What Do Unicorns Symbolize?


These mythical beasts appear in legends and mythologies of different cultures and they generally represent good things.

In the West, unicorns are often portrayed white in color to represent its purity and virtue. You might have heard of the legend that it will need a maiden to capture a unicorn because it is attracted to the woman’s purity. In eastern cultures like in China and Japan, on the other hand, the mythical beast similar to the unicorn represents wealth and prosperity. Yo can learn more about different types of unicorns in our beginners guide to unicorns here.

What’s the Myth and Story Behind Unicorns?

Unicorns are often described to be white as a symbol of purity. They are also vain creatures who are often solitary and spend their time adoring their reflections in a river or lake.

Their horns were valued because of all sorts of magical properties. It was alleged they can even neutralize poison and there are instructions on how a unicorn can be captured for its prized horn.

A maiden, as an embodiment of purity and virtue, has to wait in the forest where a unicorn has been spotted. She could wait in a clearing or sit on some tree stump and the unicorn will eventually come to her. The unicorn is at its most vulnerable around a maiden so this is the perfect time for the hunters to capture it.

Sailors and travelers from way back in the fourth century often talked of this creature that looks like a donkey with a single horn on their forehead. This horn is about a foot and a half in length.

Stories of this creature were passed around and for a long time, people actually believed unicorns were real.

During the Middle Ages, unicorn horn was in high demand because of the alleged magical properties of unicorn horns. It was said to be capable of purifying bodies of water and neutralizing poison. Since death by being poisoned happened often to royals and nobles of the time, unicorn horn was greatly valued. Hunters and merchants would go to great lengths seeking out unicorn horn.

There’s this story of King James I of England who bought powdered unicorn horn from a merchant. He wanted to test its authenticity so he had a glass of poison prepared with powdered unicorn horn and he made one of his servants drink it.

The servant, of course, died and the King demanded a refund.

What Do Unicorns Look Like?

Unicorns are typically white horses with a horn on their heads called alicorn.

Unicorns are often depicted as white to represent purity and gracefulness.

Some unicorns are even said to have wings, to enhance their majestic appearance. Some people have also said that unicorns could have some characteristics of a goat, but the color usually remains the same. However there is another mythical beast called ‘nightmare’ that is often referred to as a dark unicorn.

What Do Unicorns Do?

In their tales, unicorns are said to have the power of healing. They can heal illnesses and they also have the power of making poisoned water drinkable. It is said that they can remove the poison by using their horns. Because of their beauty they typically hide from people. In their stories they are only found by virgin girls, which is why they also symbolize rarity.

How to Capture a Unicorn?

In the stories men have captured unicorns by luring them out by using a virgin girl because the unicorn cannot resist its love for them. They are said to go up to these girls and lay on their laps, leaving them vulnerable.

It has also been told that unicorns have been captured by angering it. Someone would stand in front of a tree and anger it just enough that it would have to pursue him. At the last minute, the man would move to the side trapping the unicorns horn deep into the tree. This would help subdue the animal.

People wanted to capture a unicorn because they believed that their power came purely from their horn. The stories tells us that greedy men would kill the animal and remove its horn so they could use its magical powers.

What Does a Unicorn with a Rainbow Mean?

A unicorn with a rainbow is only a re-imagination of the traditional unicorn that began in the 1980’s. This is to make the creature look more eye-catching and marketable to girls as they were being sold as toys.

Unicorns have also been depicted with rainbows more often lately, especially in social media. Starbucks even a launched the Unicorn Frappuccino back in 2017 that is rainbow-colored and it sparked a unicorn trend.

Although it often doesn’t hold any innate meaning, this depiction of a unicorn is sometimes a nod to the LGBT community. The unicorn with a rainbow has appeared a few times in Pride Marches because of the visual similarity to the rainbow pride flag.

Unicorn rainbow design
Check out more cute unicorn t-shirts.

Are Unicorns Evil?


Unicorns are typically depicted as good, kind creatures. For example, the My Little Pony series, movies, dolls, etc. are all sold on the notion that unicorns value friendship and that love wins overall.

In the tales with, they are sometimes seen as mean or evil because they were tricked into acting that way. If someone was bugging you all day, would you not get mad and tell him or her to leave you alone?

The unicorns were only expressing their emotions, which men had taken advantage of. The only time I have ever seen a unicorn depicted in a bad way was in the movie The Cabin In The Woods. It was only lightly depicted, but none the less, it was still shown. In the movie the unicorn can be seen killing someone by using its horn and pushing the person into a wall with it, but considering the context of the movie, it wasn’t meant to make a statement.

There are all sorts of accounts and literature made about unicorns way back before the seventeenth century. The most popular of them depict unicorns as harmless creatures and are generally good-natured. They also claim a unicorn’s horn has magical properties.

For a time, unicorn horn was even highly valued even though there weren’t any solid proof of the creature ever existing.

What is the Meaning of Unicorns in the Bible?

Even the Bible mentions unicorns. They were mentioned eight times and were depicted as wild and untamable creatures with brutish strength.

The animal called the re’em in the Bible has been translated to unicorn, but scholars say it might actually be an extinct species of wild cattle and not the unicorn we are familiar with. It was only translated to “unicorn” in the King James version because a unicorn is more recognizable to the English-speakers as a creature that is untamable and strong.


The Unicorn exists in old legends and tales of different cultures as a good-natured creature. It’s more popular as a symbol of purity and strength.

It even exists in East Asian mythology as a symbol of good fortune, wealth, and prosperity. In the Bible, the animal re’em was translated to “unicorn” in the King James version because both creatures are wild and untamable.

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