late 14c., "pertaining to the whole of something specified; occurring everywhere," from Old French universel "general, universal" (12c.), from Latin universalis "of or belonging to all," from universus "all together, whole, entire" (see universe). In mechanics, a universal joint (1670s) is one which allows free movement in any direction. Universal product code is recorded from 1974.
updated on February 27, 2014
Dictionary entries near universal