The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Universal \U`ni*ver"sal\, a. [L. universalis: cf. F. universel,
OF. also universal. See Universe.]
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." --Milton.
The universal cause
Acts not by partial, but by general laws. --Pope.
This universal frame began. --Dryden.
Note: Universal and its derivatives are used in common
discourse for general and its derivatives. See
2. Constituting or considered as a whole; total; entire;
whole; as, the universal world. --Shak.
At which the universal host up dent
A shout that tore Hell's concave. --Milton.
3. (Mech.) 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.
Universal chuck (Mach.), a chuck, as for a lathe, having
jaws which can be moved simultaneously so as to grasp
objects of various sizes.
Universal church, the whole church of God in the world; the
catholic church. See the Note under Catholic, a., 1.
Universal coupling. (Mach.) Same as Universal joint,
Universal dial, a dial by which the hour may be found in
any part of the world, or under any elevation of the pole.
Universal instrument (Astron.), a species of altitude and
azimuth instrument, the peculiarity of which is, that the
object end of the telescope is placed at right angles to
the eye end, with a prism of total reflection at the
angle, and the eye end constitutes a portion of the
horizontal axis of the instrument, having the eyepiece at
the pivot and in the center of the altitude circle, so
that the eye has convenient access to both at the same
Universal joint (Mach.), 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 (Fig. 1). 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] (Fig. 2).
Universal umbel (Bot.), 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.
Syn: General; all; whole; total. See General.