Main definitions of universal in English

: universal1Universal2



  • 1Of, affecting, or done by all people or things in the world or in a particular group; applicable to all cases.

    ‘universal adult suffrage’
    ‘the incidents caused universal concern’
    • ‘Each nation developed its own language of commemoration, but some features were universal.’
    • ‘I was thinking - in a rather casual way - both about rights created by law, and about rights which are asserted as universal.’
    • ‘One universal rule is that dogs cannot fly on a plane without the owner on board.’
    • ‘The show's concept is the universal feeling that life will be better in another place.’
    • ‘Men and women tend to have different physiology, though this is neither a universal, hard-and-fast rule nor a completely made up one.’
    • ‘I know this is a long way from terrorism, but the rules of logic are universal (arguably).’
    • ‘In fact, nature has found body language so universal that recognition of certain movements is preprogrammed into our brains.’
    • ‘Trinidad was granted universal adult suffrage in 1945.’
    • ‘Workers become the universal class, the primary agent of history, by acting on that self-understanding.’
    • ‘However, he denies that it is the most general, or universal, concept in the sense of being the highest genus of entities.’
    • ‘The first step is to examine the outline of the eight universal features that researchers suggest need to be present in all programs to support youth.’
    • ‘Laughter is a universal and prominent feature of human communication.’
    • ‘It is rooted in a specific place and culture, but the concerns are universal.’
    • ‘It is true that some people use pointer in a broader sense more-or-less equivalent to reference, so the distinction made above is not universal.’
    • ‘A proposal for a universal 30% increase in child benefit for all children in the 0-5 years category is being examined.’
    • ‘Looking at evolutionary biology, the body's ability to transmit and receive healing energy is a natural and universal design feature of the living system.’
    • ‘The author of this amusing and admirable history of the English language argues powerfully for universal linguistic tolerance.’
    • ‘Because multicellularity is an experiment that's been run many times in the history of life, scientists may be able to discover some universal rules for how it comes about.’
    • ‘There is no universal rule what ad or what message works.’
    • ‘After World War II, universal adult suffrage was introduced and a party system was developed.’
    general, ubiquitous, comprehensive, common, omnipresent, all-embracing, all-inclusive, all-round, across the board
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Logic Denoting a proposition in which something is asserted of all of a class.
      Contrasted with particular
      • ‘He connects it with the thesis that only universal propositions can be known.’
    2. 1.2Linguistics Denoting or relating to a grammatical rule, set of rules, or other linguistic feature that is found in all languages.
      • ‘Instead, slang and universal loanwords are used, a so - called ‘globespeak.’’
    3. 1.3 (of a tool or machine) adjustable to or appropriate for all requirements; not restricted to a single purpose or position.
      • ‘As a universal machine, the computer and particularly its software are the centre of interest.’
      • ‘Today the computer is the universal machine that is driving the Information Age.’
      • ‘It is the universal tool that permits the development of multimedia driven complex games.’
      • ‘There's a yawning chasm between their user-experience of partially-universal machines and universal machines.’
      • ‘These primers were used together and in combination with the universal primers as appropriate.’
      • ‘A Halligan tool is a universal tool that has been used by firefighters for years.’
      • ‘The universal Turing machine is a hypothetical device that scans a digital tape and, in principle, can solve any computable problem.’
      • ‘Within two or three years, several true electronic universal machines had been built.’
      • ‘Soon I had a sprinkler, a universal tap adaptor, and 7.5 metres of soaker hose.’
      • ‘A ballpoint needle has the most rounded tip and an embroidery needle has a very slightly curved tip - a universal needle is in between.’
      • ‘Turing's construction of a universal machine gives the most fundamental insight into computation: one machine can run any program whatsoever.’
      • ‘Use a 90/14 universal needle and good-quality polyester thread.’
      • ‘The importance of the universal machine is clear.’
      • ‘Use a ballpoint or universal needle for sewing knit fabrics.’
      • ‘And, our engine is quite universal, so we plan to license it as the stand-alone product.’
      • ‘The computer is the nearest thing we have to a universal tool.’
      • ‘Often technologies from Europe and the U.S. are presented as universal tools that can be used anywhere in the world, with equal effectiveness and efficiency.’
      • ‘A universal needle can be used in all household sewing machines that accept a flat shank.’
      • ‘If you get skipped stitches with a universal needle, change to a ball-point needle for heavier fabrics or a stretch needle for finer knits.’
      • ‘The sections are crushed at a constant rate in a universal testing machine, while the force required is recorded.’


  • 1A person or thing having universal effect, currency, or application.

    1. 1.1Logic A universal proposition.
      • ‘Consider as a definiendum a universal, such as man, and its definiens, rational animal.’
      • ‘If laws are thought of in some other way - for example, as involving relations of necessitation amongst universals - then the proposal may be more promising.’
    2. 1.2Philosophy A term or concept of general application.
      • ‘The Idea is composed of universals, general concepts, whereas Nature comprises myriads of particular things.’
      • ‘If we move from universals to concepts in general, we can see how category theory could be useful even in cognitive science.’
      • ‘Abandoning Kantian universals, he looks for more adequate universals for the present, ones that relate to the ordinary everyday lives of ordinary everyday people.’
      • ‘Abelard defends his thesis that universals are nothing but words by arguing that ontological realism about universals is incoherent.’
      • ‘For example, one might want to divide the category of universals into the two sub-categories of properties and relations.’
    3. 1.3Philosophy A nature or essence signified by a general term.
      • ‘Secondly, are the universals of human nature claimed by academic psychology more accurately seen as Western or Euroamerican patterns?’
      • ‘Conceptualists hold that universals are mental constructions and traditional nominalists hold that either universals are linguistic constructions or they do not exist at all.’
      • ‘Human existence has remained under the influence of myths, these being claims to timeless and incontrovertible truths - in essence, universals.’
      • ‘Typical advocates of this view admit that universals exist, after a fashion, but they deny that universals have any existence independent of their instances.’
      • ‘Those who think there is some actual universal existing outside the mind are called realists; those who deny extra-mental universals are called nominalists.’
    4. 1.4Linguistics A universal grammatical rule or linguistic feature.
      • ‘Because of this, the sentence as understood in the Western linguistic tradition has not yet been unequivocally established as a universal of language.’
      • ‘And I suspect that it's a linguistic universal for farm animals, crops and food products to figure in terms of disdain and abuse.’
      • ‘There are aspects of anaphoric universals which clearly are of a grammatical nature; there are also aspects of anaphoric universals which equally clearly are of a pragmatic nature.’


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin universalis, from universus (see universe).




Main definitions of universal in English

: universal1Universal2


proper noun

  • A movie production company formed by Carl Laemmle in 1912, one of the first studios to move from New York to the Los Angeles area. The company merged with MCA (Music Corporation of America) in 1962. The company produced movies starring Abbott and Costello, the series of Sherlock Holmes movies featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, and blockbusters such as "ET The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982)