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 universal (audio) \ adverb
universalness \ ˌyü-​nə-​ˈvər-​səl-​nəs How to pronounce universal (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 Thus, menopause is a universal experience for women. Vicki Salemi, Forbes, 18 Oct. 2021 Those policies conflict with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends universal mask wearing for students and teachers in the classroom. BostonGlobe.com, 6 Oct. 2021 Things were much worse in August and September, and local health officials give their universal indoor mask mandate a big chunk of the credit for turning things around. Karen Kaplan Science And Medicine Editor, Los Angeles Times, 5 Oct. 2021 Those policies conflict with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends universal mask wearing for students and teachers in the classroom. Collin Binkley, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Oct. 2021 So the safest and most efficient and effective thing is to just require universal mask wearing in schools. Ross Kohan, Fortune, 16 Sep. 2021 The characters on Three’s Company or Cheers were not expected to convey some universal white experience. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, 13 Sep. 2021 Parr also has asked Gogerty to issue an order for a universal mask mandate for all students and school personnel until a voluntary plan can be implemented that separates mask-wearing students and staff from those who refuse. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 13 Sep. 2021 Gilani said that even in very young children, there’s no evidence that suggests universal mask wearing can present negative mental health outcomes. al, 8 Sep. 2021 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, 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, 10 Sep. 2019 Many of the universals that hold up best are negative. The Economist, 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, 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, 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, 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, 23 Apr. 2018 Like any good storyteller, Sean Dorsey has a knack for distilling the universal from the specific. Claudia Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, 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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Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best universal remotes of 2021.

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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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Dictionary Entries Near universal

univerbation

universal

universal affirmation

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Statistics for universal

Last Updated

27 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Universal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/universal. Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for universal

universal

adjective

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

More from Merriam-Webster on universal

Nglish: Translation of universal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of universal for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about universal

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