1. All space-time, matter, and energy, including the solar system, all stars and galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space, regarded as a whole.
2. A hypothetical whole of space-time, matter, and energy that is purported to exist simultaneously with but to be different from this universe: an alternate universe.
a. A model or conception of the earth and everything else that exists: "Apart from celestial beings, the aboriginals' universe contained spirits of the land and sea" (Madhusree Mukerjee).
b. The human race or a subset of it: "It was a universe that took slavery for granted" (Adam Hochschild).
4. A sphere of interest, activity, or understanding: "their almost hermetically sealed-off universe of part-time jobs and study and improvised meals" (Sue Miller).
5. Logic See universe of discourse.
6. Statistics See population.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus