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 Indeed, the zillion images of sourdough posted on Instagram in the past few weeks would seem to suggest the appeal of a fresh baked loaf is universal. Emelyn Rude, Time, "The Coronavirus Baking Boom Has Made It Hard to Find Flour. Here’s How Americans Coped With ‘Wheatless Wednesdays’ in WWI," 13 May 2020 But those types of results aren’t universal for students across the district. Corbett Smith, Dallas News, "A third of Dallas families are without home internet, making online learning all the more difficult," 8 May 2020 Draft evaluators are nearly universal in grading him as a top-three talent. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Mailbag: Who should Detroit Pistons prioritize in the draft, and why is it LaMelo Ball?," 5 May 2020 Even though the love for White Claw is seemingly universal, beer tastes vary by city, according to Saucey’s data. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, "Get Wine, Beer, Liquor, and Snacks Delivered in Under an Hour With Saucey," 27 Apr. 2020 The desire to save information for posterity seems to be almost universal but manifests in different ways according to each hoarder's own interest. David Rutland, Ars Technica, "Digital hoarders: “Our terabytes are put to use for the betterment of mankind”," 12 Apr. 2020 And though knowing my feelings are kind of universal doesn’t solve my problems, there is some comfort in knowing that other people are also going through it. Anna Borges, SELF, "17 Totally Normal Things to Feel Right Now, According to Therapists," 10 Apr. 2020 But why is that bittersweet sort of reminiscence so universal? Popular Science, "We once thought nostalgia was a disease, but it might be key to our survival," 8 Apr. 2020 Class solidarity Coronavirus is different: The threat is universal. Yuqi Na, The Conversation, "Coronavirus unites a divided China in fear, grief and anger at government," 2 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With a soaring stock market and historically low unemployment levels, there was no universal, pressing economic anxiety or crisis that Biden could soothe. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, "ANALYSIS: In a pandemic and economic crisis, Biden’s healer-in-chief pitch rings stronger," 17 Apr. 2020 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

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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Time Traveler for universal

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for universal

Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Universal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/universal. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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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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