universal grammar

noun

Definition of universal grammar

: the study of general principles believed to underlie the grammatical phenomena of all languages also : such principles viewed as part of an innate human capacity for learning a language

Examples of universal grammar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Until recently, the kids playing pickup games, lending their own vocabulary to a universal grammar, were calling themselves Messi. The New York Review of Books, 5 Apr. 2018

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

First Known Use of universal grammar

1751, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About universal grammar

Time Traveler for universal grammar

Time Traveler

The first known use of universal grammar was in 1751

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near universal grammar

universal donor

universal grammar

Universalian

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for universal grammar

Cite this Entry

“Universal grammar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/universal%20grammar. Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on universal grammar

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about universal grammar

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!