c: a general concept or term or something in reality to which it corresponds :essence
a: a behavior pattern or institution (as the family) existing in all cultures
b: a culture trait characteristic of all normal adult members of a particular society
First Known Use of UNIVERSAL
In metaphysics, epistemology, and logic, a general category, such as a property or relation, considered as distinct from the particular things that instantiate or exemplify it. The problem of universals concerns the question of what sort of being should be ascribed to such categories (e.g., is there any such thing as redness apart from particular red things?). The debate over the status of universals stems from Plato's theory of forms. Whereas Plato held that forms (universals) exist independently of particulars, Aristotle argued that forms exist only in the particulars in which they are exemplified. See alsorealism.