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[yoo-nuh-vurs] /ˈyu nəˌvɜrs/
the totality of known or supposed objects and phenomena throughout space; the cosmos; macrocosm.
the whole world, especially with reference to humanity:
a truth known throughout the universe.
a world or sphere in which something exists or prevails:
his private universe.
Also called universe of discourse. Logic. the aggregate of all the objects, attributes, and relations assumed or implied in a given discussion.
Also called universal set. Mathematics. the set of all elements under discussion for a given problem.
Statistics. the entire population under study.
Origin of universe
1325-75; Middle English < Old French univers < Latin ūniversum, noun use of neuter of ūniversus entire, all, literally, turned into one, equivalent to ūni- uni- + versus (past participle of vertere to turn)
Related forms
subuniverse, noun
superuniverse, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for universe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Light seemed to be vanishing from the universe, leaving them alone with the sea.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • Were I to be queen of the universe, that dignity should not absolve me from my duty to you and to my father.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • Below, on the terrace, Viviette was walking, and she filled his universe.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • As the son of God I am from everlasting to everlasting, a splendid being with the universe as my home.

  • He has not put us into His universe and left us to fend for ourselves.

British Dictionary definitions for universe


(astronomy) the aggregate of all existing matter, energy, and space
human beings collectively
a province or sphere of thought or activity
(statistics) another word for population (sense 7)
Word Origin
C16: from French univers, from Latin ūniversum the whole world, from ūniversus all together, from uni- + vertere to turn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for universe

1580s, "the whole world, cosmos," from Old French univers (12c.), from Latin universum "the universe," noun use of neuter of adj. universus "all together," literally "turned into one," from unus "one" (see one) + versus, past participle of vertere "to turn" (see versus). Properly a loan-translation of Greek to holon "the universe," noun use of neuter of adj. holos "whole" (see safe (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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universe in Science
The totality of matter, energy, and space, including the Solar System, the galaxies, and the contents of the space between the galaxies. Current theories of cosmology suggest that the universe is constantly expanding.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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