American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Of, relating to, extending to, or affecting the entire world or all within the world; worldwide: "This discovery of literature has as yet only partially penetrated the universal consciousness” ( Ellen Key).
- adj. Including, relating to, or affecting all members of the class or group under consideration: the universal skepticism of philosophers. See Synonyms at general.
- adj. Applicable or common to all purposes, conditions, or situations: a universal remedy.
- adj. Of or relating to the universe or cosmos; cosmic.
- adj. Knowledgeable about or constituting all or many subjects; comprehensively broad.
- adj. Adapted or adjustable to many sizes or mechanical uses.
- adj. Logic Encompassing all of the members of a class or group. Used of a proposition.
- n. Logic A universal proposition.
- n. Logic A general or abstract concept or term considered absolute or axiomatic.
- n. A general or widely held principle, concept, or notion.
- n. A trait or pattern of behavior characteristic of all the members of a particular culture or of all humans.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- In mech., having feed-motions of the work against the cutter or tool in all possible directions (both right and left, forward and back, and up and down). Since tools of this type have usually a wide range of adaptable cutters, the term has been extended to mean having a very wide range of uses, or capable of doing nearly all kinds of work. It is the contradictory of special (in this use), which is applied to a tool that is designed for one class of work and no other.
- A form of pipe-union in which the two pieces joined together, end to end, may be at an angle with each other, or not in line: effected by the use of a spherical surface of contact, one half male and the other female, pressed together by a nut forming part of the female half.
- Pertaining to the universe in its entirety, or to the human race collectively.
- Pertaining to all things or to all mankind distributively. This is the original and most proper signification.
- Belonging to or predicated of all the members of a class considered without exception: as, a universal rule. This meaning arose in logic, where it is called the complex sense of universal, and has been common in Latin since the second century.
- In logic, capable of being predicated of many individuals or single cases; general. This, called the simple sense of universal, in which the word is precisely equivalent to general, is quite opposed to its etymology, and perpetuates a confusion of thought due to Aristotle, whose
καθόλονit translates. (See II., 1 .) In Latin it is nearly as old, perhaps older, than def. 3.
- Synonyms General, etc. See common.
- n. In logic: One of the five predicables of the Aristotelians, or logical varieties of predicates, which are said to be genus, species, difference, property, and accident.
- n. A general term or predicate, or the general nature which such a term signifies. In order to understand the great dispute concerning universals it is necessary to remark that the word in this sense entirely departs from its etymology. The universe is incapable of general description, and consists of objects connected by dynamical relations and recognized by associations of contiguity; while a universal is an idea connected with experience by associations of resemblance merely. But though a universal is, in its universality, thus not contracted to actual existence, it does not necessarily follow that things real have in their real existence no universal predicates. The commou belief is that the mutual actions of things are subjected to laws that are really general—that the laws of mechanics, for instance, are not mere accidental uniformities, but have a real virtue. These laws may be subject to exceptions and interference; such has always been the vulgar belief, and in most ages that of philosophers; it may be they are never precisely followed. But any tendency in the things themselves toward generalizations of their characters constitutes what is termed a universal in re. Before the laws of physics were established it was particularly the uniformities of heredity, and consequent commonness of organic forms, which specially attracted attention; so that man and horse are the traditional examples of universals in re. The dispute concerning universals chiefly concerns the universals in re, and arises from the different degrees of importance attributed by different minds to the dynamical and to the intelligible relations of things. Those who follow the common opinion are called
realists. The other party, looking at the blind dynamical character of the connections of things, denies that there is any real operation of law or intelligible guidance. These are the nominalists, who may take one of three main positions. First, there are those who hold that the uniformities of nature are due to the interference on every single occasion of general creative ideas, called universals ante rem. Second, there are those who, admitting that intelligible relations do govern one great department of creation—namely, the world of thought, so that there are general conceptions, called universals post rem—insist that the notion of a law of nature, properly speaking, is purely illusory. Things as they are are therefore entirely incomprehensible, and all that is intelligible is mere seeming. Yet this seeming has so consistent a character that it is for all intents and purposes the real world: and this seemingly real world is seemingly governed by law, which, indeed, is the only feature in it which makes it seem like real. This is substantially Kantianism. Third, there are those who deny universals in re, ante rem, and post rem, holding that association by resemblance is reducible to association by contiguity, that generalization takes place only upon paper or in talk, and that every fact is at bottom unintelligible. In the middle ages, if not at all times, the realistic opinion has often been carried too far, the mere resemblances of things, which are nothing but the native tendency of the mind to associate them, being supposed to indicate more intimate dynamical relations than can justly be inferred on such a ground alone.
- n. The whole; the system of the universe.
- adj. Of or pertaining to the universe.
- adj. Common to all members of a group or class.
- adj. Common to all society; world-wide
- adj. Cosmic; unlimited; vast; infinite
- adj. Useful for many purposes, e.g., universal wrench.
- n. philosophy A characteristic or property that particular things have in common.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Of or pertaining to the universe; extending to, including, or affecting, the whole number, quantity, or space; unlimited; general; all-reaching; all-pervading
- adj. Constituting or considered as a whole; total; entire; whole.
- adj. (Mech.) Adapted or adaptable to all or to various uses, shapes, sizes, etc..
- adj. (Logic) Forming the whole of a genus; relatively unlimited in extension; affirmed or denied of the whole of a subject; ; -- opposed to
particular; e. g. ( universalaffirmative) All men are animals; ( universalnegative) No men are omniscient.
- n. obsolete The whole; the general system of the universe; the universe.
- n. A general abstract conception, so called from being universally applicable to, or predicable of, each individual or species contained under it.
- n. A universal proposition. See Universal, a., 4.
- n. (logic) a proposition that asserts something of all members of a class
- adj. adapted to various purposes, sizes, forms, operations
- n. coupling that connects two rotating shafts allowing freedom of movement in all directions
- n. (linguistics) a grammatical rule (or other linguistic feature) that is found in all languages
- adj. of worldwide scope or applicability
- n. a behavioral convention or pattern characteristic of all members of a particular culture or of all human beings
- adj. applicable to or common to all members of a group or set
- From Latin universalis. (Wiktionary)
“I trust we may come to that unity of mankind of which he speaks, and of universal peace which our friend Richard Cobden considers as very near at hand; if, however, the red benefactors of mankind at Paris get the upper hand, _universal war_ will be the order of the day.”
“But if this education were universal to the whole tribe, no man would have an advantage superior to the others; the knowledge they would have acquired being shared by all, would leave all as they now are, hewers of wood and drawers of water: the principle of individual hope, which springs from knowledge, would soon be baffled by the vast competition that _universal_ knowledge would produce.”
“These assertions are universal: I say, in the full sense, _universal_.”
“There are many different types of care which fall under the term universal health care”
“These three levels are: the materialistic consciousness, the spiritual consciousness and what I call the "universal consciousness.”
“Financial dignity is closer to what I call the "universal language of money" that the whole world actually speaks.”
“McCain is referring to Obama's plan to help people with mortgages which he calls a universal mortgage credit plan and Obama added a work requirement to that.”
“This reminded me that in one of my conversations with Coltrane he said he was searching for the sounds of what Buddhists call "Om," which he described as the universal essence of all of us in the universe.”
“But what you want to know is what triggers a late charge or whether the credit card company has what they call a universal default clause.”
“If their skin is intact, they take precautions, what we call universal precautions.”
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