univ·​o·​cal yü-ˈni-və-kəl How to pronounce univocal (audio)
: having one meaning only
: unambiguous
in search of a morally univocal answer
univocally adverb

Did you know?

The History of Univocal

In Latin, the prefix uni- ("one") united with vox ("voice"), creating univocus, the source of English's univocal.

Examples of univocal in a Sentence

those who believe that the language of the Bible is univocal: it is never metaphorical but intended to be taken literally
Recent Examples on the Web Today’s political mainstream consists of a rising univocal, powerful, and intolerant pro-war movement for which the invasion is existential. Tatiana Stanovaya, Foreign Affairs, 18 Nov. 2022 But the narrative emerging from key players in the Arab world for which Tunisia’s Arab Spring legacy presents a clear challenge — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt — was far more univocal: The events in Tunisia marked the death knell for political Islam in democracy. Washington Post, 27 July 2021 Yet, as with almost everything Shostakovich wrote, the score defeats a univocal interpretation, its classical four-movement structure interlaced with political, personal, and purely musical messages. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 24 Mar. 2022 Who Lived Her Songs—Cash greatly complicates the popcult caricature of country music as a univocal genre of jingoist belligerence and boosterism, as exemplified by Toby Keith, Daryl Worley, Hank Williams Jr., and the late-career Charlie Daniels. Chris Lehmann, The New Republic, 7 Dec. 2021 To be sure, a great deal of Irish verse during the 1910s and 1920s, univocal ‘in the intensity and wrath of [its] invective,’ lacked the rhetorical nuance of Yeats’ Modernism. Matthew Carey Salyer, Forbes, 20 May 2021 According to the Morgans, the House of Commons allowed no American petition to be read into the record and debated, on the grounds of a univocal recoil, by the Commons, from the Americans’ assertion of the right of representation. William Hogeland, The New Republic, 25 Jan. 2021 The book contends that the Commons was univocal in shutting down any consideration of the petitions. William Hogeland, The New Republic, 25 Jan. 2021 The univocal gasp of my students still haunts my nightmares. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, 23 Apr. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'univocal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin univocus, from Latin uni- + voc-, vox voice — more at voice

First Known Use

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of univocal was in 1599


Dictionary Entries Near univocal

Cite this Entry

“Univocal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/univocal. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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