cultural universal


  1. a cultural pattern extant in every known society.

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Example Sentences

One of the cultural universals in humans is to have assistance during birth, usually in the form of an experienced midwife.


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More About Cultural Universal

What is a cultural universal?

A cultural universal is something that is accepted or understood in nearly every culture or society, such as rituals surrounding birth and death.

Cultural universal is used in anthropology and sociology to describe a pattern of behaviors or beliefs that most, if not all, human cultures have. 

Although a cultural universal might exist in all cultures, the specifics of the cultural pattern can be different, sometimes very different, between societies. For example, the desire to create music is a cultural universal, but the styles and genres of music vary greatly from group to group. 

Some other frequently cited cultural universals include marriage, ceremonies honoring the dead, the assistance in giving birth, metaphors, poetry, measurement, telling time, verbs in language, bartering and the exchange of goods and services, and holiday rituals.

Example: Juan’s research focused on the cultural universal of death ceremonies, studying the different death rituals of South American countries over the centuries.

Where does cultural universal come from?

Cultural universal combines the terms cultural, meaning “relating to behaviors and beliefs of a group of people,” and universal, meaning “a trait or characteristic that is possessed by everyone.”

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What are some words that share a root or word element with cultural universal

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How is cultural universal used in real life?

Cultural universals are normally discussed within the contexts of human geography, sociology, and history. 



Try using cultural universal!

True or False?

A cultural universal is something only one culture does.




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