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

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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 That has to be recognized as a universal human right. Motoko Rich, New York Times, "Two Men in Japan Dared to Take Paternity Leave. It Cost Them Dearly, They Say.," 12 Sep. 2019 Externally, many seem to have accepted that pitching universal appeals to consumers across the political spectrum has become impractical. Alison Taylor, Quartz at Work, "Employees have given rise to something far more powerful than “CEO activism”," 6 Sep. 2019 The protests have since broadened into other demands including universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into allegations of excessive force by the police. NBC News, "Hong Kong reopens after weekend of clashes, protests," 16 Sep. 2019 But mass rallies have continued, in part because the movement’s demands have gradually expanded to include broad calls for political reform, including universal suffrage, and an independent inquiry into allegations of police brutality. BostonGlobe.com, "HONG KONG — Black-clad protesters hurled gasoline bombs at government offices in central Hong Kong on Sunday, as a day that began with a peaceful march by tens of thousands of prodemocracy demonstrators descended into clouds of tear gas deployed by police and ugly brawls between civilians.," 16 Sep. 2019 But mass rallies have continued, in part because the movement’s demands have gradually expanded to include broad calls for political reform, including universal suffrage, and an independent inquiry into allegations of police brutality. New York Times, "Hong Kong Protesters Hurl Gasoline Bombs at Government Offices," 15 Sep. 2019 Now the Senate majority leader, McConnell resisted calls by Democrats to immediately bring the Senate back from its August recess to vote on universal background checks. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, "How McConnell has fought gun control despite a mass shooting in his hometown 30 years ago," 12 Sep. 2019 Among their demands is the introduction of universal suffrage. Eric Cheung, CNN, "Hong Kong's leader warns US and other countries not to interfere in protests," 10 Sep. 2019 When [most] Americans support universal background checks for gun purchases, and Congress refuses to act because it is bought by the NRA, that is corruption. Seamus Kirst, Teen Vogue, "Jon Ossoff Has a Message for Those Who Think He's Too Young to Be a Senator," 10 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The descriptions of leaving the body and blissful unity with the universal seem almost scripted from religious beliefs about souls leaving the body at death and ascending toward heavenly bliss. Robert Martone, Scientific American, "New Clues Found in Understanding Near-Death Experiences," 10 Sep. 2019 Many of the universals that hold up best are negative. The Economist, "A new book spells out the magic of language," 22 Aug. 2019 If there are universals among their tactics, they are probably linked to shared evolutionary history or shared strategies for hijacking a host. Quanta Magazine, "The Body’s Clock Offers a Rhythmic Target to Viruses," 30 May 2019 May 2019) Antonello’s real subjects are universals rather than particulars: love, despair, sorrow, amusement, and, above all, light. The New York Review of Books, "Ingrid D. Rowland," 9 May 2019 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

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

6 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce universal (audio)

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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Comments on universal

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