Definitions for universalˌyu nəˈvɜr səl

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word universal

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

u•ni•ver•salˌyu nəˈvɜr səl(adj.)

  1. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of all or the whole.

  2. applicable everywhere or in all cases:

    a universal cure.

  3. affecting, concerning, or involving all:

    universal military service.

  4. used or understood by all:

    a universal language.

    Category: Language/Linguistics

  5. present or existing everywhere.

  6. versed in or embracing many or all skills, branches of learning, etc.

  7. of or pertaining to the universe, all nature, or all existing things.

  8. Logic. (of a proposition) asserted of every member of a class.

    Category: Philosphy

  9. noting any of various machines, tools, or devices widely adaptable in position, range of use, etc.

    Category: Machinery

  10. (n.)a cultural pattern or trait found in every known society or common to all members of a particular culture.

    Category: Sociology

  11. Logic. a universal proposition.

    Category: Philosphy

  12. Philos. a general term or concept or the generic nature that such a term signifies; a Platonic idea or Aristotelian form. an entity that remains unchanged in character in a series of changes or changing relations.

    Category: Philosphy

  13. a trait or property of language that can exist in all languages.

    Category: Language/Linguistics

  14. Category: Machinery

    Ref: universal joint.

Origin of universal:

1325–75; ME < MF < L ūniversālis. See universe


Princeton's WordNet

  1. universal, linguistic universal(noun)

    (linguistics) a grammatical rule (or other linguistic feature) that is found in all languages

  2. universal, universal proposition(noun)

    (logic) a proposition that asserts something of all members of a class

  3. universal(noun)

    a behavioral convention or pattern characteristic of all members of a particular culture or of all human beings

    "some form of religion seems to be a human universal"

  4. universal joint, universal(adj)

    coupling that connects two rotating shafts allowing freedom of movement in all directions

    "in motor vehicles a universal joint allows the driveshaft to move up and down as the vehicle passes over bumps"

  5. cosmopolitan, ecumenical, oecumenical, general, universal, worldwide, world-wide(adj)

    of worldwide scope or applicability

    "an issue of cosmopolitan import"; "the shrewdest political and ecumenical comment of our time"- Christopher Morley; "universal experience"

  6. universal(adj)

    applicable to or common to all members of a group or set

    "the play opened to universal acclaim"; "rap enjoys universal appeal among teenage boys"

  7. universal(adj)

    adapted to various purposes, sizes, forms, operations

    "universal wrench", "universal chuck"; "universal screwdriver"

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. universal(adjective)ˌyu nəˈvɜr səl

    common or available to all people

    a universal problem; universal voting rights


  1. universal(Noun)

    A characteristic or property that particular things have in common.

  2. universal(Adjective)

    Of or pertaining to the universe.

  3. universal(Adjective)

    Common to all members of a group or class.

  4. universal(Adjective)

    Common to all society; world-wide

    She achieved universal fame.

  5. universal(Adjective)

    Cosmic; unlimited; vast; infinite

  6. universal(Adjective)

    Useful for many purposes, e.g., universal wrench.

  7. Origin: From universalis.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Universal(adj)

    of or pertaining to the universe; extending to, including, or affecting, the whole number, quantity, or space; unlimited; general; all-reaching; all-pervading; as, universal ruin; universal good; universal benevolence or benefice

  2. Universal(adj)

    constituting or considered as a whole; total; entire; whole; as, the universal world

  3. Universal(adj)

    adapted or adaptable to all or to various uses, shapes, sizes, etc.; as, a universal milling machine

  4. Universal(adj)

    forming the whole of a genus; relatively unlimited in extension; affirmed or denied of the whole of a subject; as, a universal proposition; -- opposed to particular; e. g. (universal affirmative) All men are animals; (universal negative) No men are omniscient

  5. Universal(noun)

    the whole; the general system of the universe; the universe

  6. Universal(noun)

    a general abstract conception, so called from being universally applicable to, or predicable of, each individual or species contained under it

  7. Universal(noun)

    a universal proposition. See Universal, a., 4


  1. Universal

    In metaphysics, a universal is what particular things have in common, namely characteristics or qualities. In other words, universals are repeatable or recurrent entities that can be instantiated or exemplified by many particular things. For example, suppose there are two chairs in a room, each of which is green. These two chairs both share the quality of "being a chair," as well as greenness or the quality of being green. Metaphysicians call this quality that they share a "universal." There are three major kinds of qualities or characteristics: types or kinds, properties, and relations. These are all different types of universal. The noun "universal" contrasts with "individual", while the adjective "universal" contrasts with "particular". Paradigmatically, universals are abstract, whereas particulars are concrete. However, universals are not necessarily abstract and particulars are not necessarily concrete. For example, one might hold that numbers are particular yet abstract objects. Likewise, some philosophers, such as D.M. Armstrong, consider universals to be concrete. Most do not consider classes to be universals, although some prominent philosophers do, such as John Bigelow.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'universal' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3631

  2. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'universal' in Adjectives Frequency: #495

Translations for universal

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


affecting, including etc the whole of the world or all or most people

English may become a universal language that everyone can learn and use.

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