Definition of universalize in US English:


(British universalise)


[with object]
  • 1Give a universal character or application to (something, especially something abstract)

    ‘theories that universalize experience’
    • ‘Miller's attempt to universalize Quentin's guilt by comparing it to post-war Germany's guilt over the Holocaust seems unbelievably self-aggrandizing.’
    • ‘Rather, I think it is intrinsic for humans to try to universalize experience into a form, because we are social creatures.’
    • ‘As Wilson readily conceded, there was no attempt to universalize the principle of self-determination to apply, for example, to the Allies' dependent territories.’
    • ‘Trying to universalise this example hits a bit of a bump though.’
    • ‘One can speak of a general hesitation before universalizing discourses as characteristic of the late-modern anxiety about narratives and systems of value.’
    • ‘The collection offers a refreshing view of the stories of ‘strangers in the tower’; that is, it pulls from a variety of scholars without universalizing the experience of any.’
    • ‘Can I universalize this, willing it to govern people in general?’
    • ‘Within the space of this typology, which objectifies and universalizes the sublime experience, there is a discontinuity between the first-person spectator and the third-person protagonist.’
    • ‘Our own historical moment offers any number of cases where the product of history is universalized as the human condition.’
    • ‘The categorical imperative supports active euthanasia since no one would willfully universalize a rule which condemns people to unbearable pain before death.’
    • ‘Here likenesses are employed by Van Helsing to severely diminish the assimilative potential of an Eastern culture, seen as incapable of the abstractions that universalize Western knowledge.’
    • ‘The discussion invokes the ethics of impartiality; those who believe in a universal code of ethics argue that a self-serving action that cannot be universalized is immoral.’
    • ‘Phenomenology tends to universalise spatial constructs which a materialist history of spatial production such as Henri Lefebvre's The Production of Space would identify with a specific epoch and mode of production.’
    • ‘It universalises all our human experience of grief.’
    • ‘But gender relations cannot be universalized, and race relations also lack transhistorical necessity, so neither the standpoint of women nor of black women can claim epistemic privilege.’
    • ‘The question to be pressed, though, is whether those experiences can be universalized.’
    • ‘The use of the third person throughout each piece universalizes the experience in itself; there is no need for a conclusion that seems to deviate from the rest of the piece.’
    • ‘This article does not seek to universalize the Japanese experience, but neither does it attempt to pigeonhole the case as representing a unique set of properties that are attributable to the specificities of Japanese political economy.’
    • ‘When we generalize from our ability to make the latter sort of decisions, we must value not only the ability to weigh options and universalize them but also the ability to engage the right affect, emotion, etc.’
    • ‘I think your question is completely irrelevant unless we define some terms and desist from universalising the experiences of ‘us’ ‘here’ as something important or even philosophically interesting.’
    give currency to, spread, propagate, give credence to, generalize
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Bring into universal use; make available for all.
      ‘attempts to universalize basic education’
      • ‘It has been shown through research the world over that there are huge social benefits from universalizing elementary education.’
      • ‘Kalam announced that a cess would be proposed on all central taxes to finance the commitment to universalise access to basic education.’
      • ‘Suppose you tried to universalize college education - how many people would actually go for it?’