1. 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. "Anointed universal King." "The universal cause Acts not by partial, but by general laws." (Pope) "This universal frame began." (Dryden)

Universal and its derivatives are used in common discourse for general and its derivatives. See General.

2. Constituting or considered as a whole; total; entire; whole; as, the universal world. "At which the universal host up dent A shout that tore Hell's concave." (Milton)

3. <mechanics> Adapted or adaptable to all or to various uses, shapes, sizes, etc.; as, a universal milling machine.

4. <logic> 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 dial, a dial by which the hour may be found in any part of the world, or under any elevation of the pole.

6. <astronomy> Universal instrument, a contrivance used for joining two shafts or parts of a machine endwise, so that the one may give rotary motion to the other when forming an angle with it, or may move freely in all directions with respect to the other, as by means of a cross connecting the forked ends of the two shafts. Since this joint can not act when the angle of the shafts is less than 140 deg, a double joint of the same kind is sometimes used for giving rotary motion at angles less than 140 deg.

7. <botany> Universal umbel, a primary or general umbel; the first or largest set of rays in a compound umbel; opposed to partial umbel. A universal involucre is not unfrequently placed at the foot of a universal umbel.

Synonyms: General, all, whole, total.

Origin: L. Universalis: cf. F. Universel, OF. Also universal.

(10 Mar 1998)