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u·ni·verse (ynə-vûrs)
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n.
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.
3.
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).
6. Statistics See population.

[Middle English, from Old French univers, from Latin ūniversum, from neuter of ūniversus, whole : ūnus, one; see oi-no- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + versus, past participle of vertere, to turn; see wer-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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