univ·​o·​cal | \ yü-ˈni-və-kəl How to pronounce univocal (audio) \

Definition of univocal

1 : having one meaning only
2 : unambiguous in search of a morally univocal answer

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Other Words from univocal

univocally \ yü-​ˈni-​və-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce univocal (audio) \ adverb

The History of Univocal

Earliest known print evidence of univocal, in the sense of "having one meaning only," dates the word to the mid-1500s, somewhat earlier than its more familiar antonym equivocal (meaning "often misleadingly subject to two or more interpretations"). Both words trace back to the Latin noun vox, which means "voice." The prefix uni- ("one") was combined with vox to create the Late Latin word univocus, from which English speakers borrowed univocal. Univocal was indeed once used in the sense of "speaking in one voice" (or "unanimous") as its etymology would imply, but that use is now obsolete.

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 The univocal gasp of my students still haunts my nightmares. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, "Finding Real Life in Teaching Law Online," 23 Apr. 2020

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

First Known Use of univocal

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for univocal

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

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The first known use of univocal was in 1599

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Cite this Entry

“Univocal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/univocal. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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