universal

adjective
uni·​ver·​sal | \ ˌyü-nə-ˈvər-səl How to pronounce universal (audio) \

Definition of universal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : including or covering all or a whole collectively or distributively without limit or exception especially : available equitably to all members of a society universal health coverage
2a : present or occurring everywhere
b : existent or operative everywhere or under all conditions universal cultural patterns
3a : embracing a major part or the greatest portion (as of humankind) a universal state universal practices
b : comprehensively broad and versatile a universal genius
4a : affirming or denying something of all members of a class or of all values of a variable
b : denoting every member of a class a universal term
5 : adapted or adjustable to meet varied requirements (as of use, shape, or size) a universal gear cutter a universal remote control

universal

noun

Definition of universal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one that is universal: such as
a : a universal proposition in logic
b : a predicable of traditional logic
c : a general concept or term or something in reality to which it corresponds : essence
2a : a behavior pattern or institution (such as the family) existing in all cultures
b : a culture trait characteristic of all normal adult members of a particular society

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Other Words from universal

Adjective

universally \ ˌyü-​nə-​ˈvər-​s(ə-​)lē How to pronounce universally (audio) \ adverb
universalness \ ˌyü-​nə-​ˈvər-​səl-​nəs How to pronounce universalness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for universal

Synonyms: Adjective

adaptable, all-around (also all-round), protean, versatile

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Examples of universal in a Sentence

Adjective

an idea with universal appeal a pattern that is universal across all cultures

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Most Americans favor common-sense gun reform; polls have shown that 97 percent of Americans support universal background checks, for example. Allie Holloway, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sarah Chadwick, Laura Dern, & Diane Kruger Fight for Gun Violence Prevention," 20 Feb. 2019 Guyton is a developmental research psychologist whose priority is working on the state’s education system, proposing universal pre-Kindergarten, boosting mental health supports in schools and improving teacher-student ratios in classrooms. Libby Solomon, baltimoresun.com, "Dems Guyton, Hebbar will face GOP candidates Mangione, Robinson in general election for District 42B," 27 June 2018 The idea has some precedent in Kansas City: Kansas City Public Schools in 2015 contemplated a tax levy increase to fund universal pre-kindergarten, but turnover in administration and the school board put that proposal on hold. Steve Vockrodt, Mara Rose Williams And Katy Bergen, kansascity, "Sly James, Chamber want sales tax hike to expand pre-K in KCMO, but questions remain," 11 June 2018 In particular, Louisville was recognized for its policies on food safety, healthy food procurement, smoke-free indoor air and high-quality, universal pre-kindergarten. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville makes a big leap in its health and quality of life ranking," 22 May 2018 Eastin: Calls for state funding for universal preschool and full-day mandatory kindergarten. San Francisco Chronicle, "Where candidates for governor stand on California’s biggest issues," 17 May 2018 Cordray is calling for universal pre-kindergarten in Ohio. cleveland.com, "Find out where the 2018 Ohio gubernatorial candidates stand on these issues ahead of the May primary," 2 May 2018 Advertising The EN700 Pros are universal fit in-ear monitors, which means they are not custom-fitted to the ear. Jim Rossman, The Seattle Times, "Tech review: Simgot in-ear monitors offer great sound and a great price," 13 Apr. 2019 The record is a victory lap from a couple who have mined their relationship for universal truths and then presented them as art. Anchorage Daily News, "A guide to Beyonce and Jay-Z’s surprise joint album ‘Everything is Love’," 18 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Her platform includes abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), making healthcare universal for all Americans, paid family leave, and more. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Just Made History in New York," 27 June 2018 Patriarchal capitalism has arguably had a vested interest in promoting the latter idea as a human universal: as the Marxist psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich pointed out, with women providing free housework and caregiving, capitalists could pay men less. Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, "Japan’s Rent-a-Family Industry," 23 Apr. 2018 Like any good storyteller, Sean Dorsey has a knack for distilling the universal from the specific. Claudia Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "San Francisco’s Sean Dorsey Dance unpacks ‘boy trouble’," 12 Apr. 2018 But values are rooted in emotion and experience as well as reason, in the local as well as the universal. Alison Gopnik, The Atlantic, "When Truth and Reason Are No Longer Enough," 17 Mar. 2018 Though these words, from the pen of Hans Christian Andersen, are an appealing notion, the idea that there might be universals in music which transcend cultural boundaries has generally been met with scepticism by scholars working in the field. The Economist, "EthnomusicologyMusic may be the food of love, but oddly, is not its language," 25 Jan. 2018 Brissett earned universal praised from coaches and teammates after the loss. Zak Keefer, Indianapolis Star, "Colts vs. Browns: 5 things I think," 23 Sep. 2017 The sailor and the nurse were intended as universals, and they are best seen that way. Time, "Celebrating Legendary LIFE Photo Editor John G. Morris," 28 July 2017 That said, this inclusive, open-hearted play, fundamentally and determinedly, traffics in universals. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Review: A bright, doomed relationship, laid bare in 'Bright Half Life'," 2 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'universal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of universal

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for universal

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin universalis, from universum universe

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Statistics for universal

Last Updated

5 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for universal

The first known use of universal was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for universal

universal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of universal

: done or experienced by everyone : existing or available for everyone
: existing or true at all times or in all places

universal

adjective
uni·​ver·​sal | \ ˌyü-nə-ˈvər-səl How to pronounce universal (audio) \

Kids Definition of universal

1 : including, covering, or taking in all or everything universal medical care
2 : present or happening everywhere universal celebration

Other Words from universal

universally adverb

universal

adjective
uni·​ver·​sal | \ ˌyü-nə-ˈvər-səl How to pronounce universal (audio) \

Legal Definition of universal

1 in the civil law of Louisiana

a : encompassing or burdening all of one's property especially causa mortis granted him a universal usufruct — see also universal legacy at legacy — compare universal title at title
b : of or relating to a universal conveyance or a conveyance under a universal title a universal donee — see also universal successor
2 : not confined by limitations or exceptions : general in application

Other Words from universal

universally adverb

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