Word of the Day: Univocal

Source: Digopaul.com

Word of the Day: Univocal

Univocal (adjective) yoo-NIV-uh-kul


1 : having one meaning only
2 : unambiguous


The president declared that it was important to send a univocal message of support to the beleaguered country.

“Often cited as America’s greatest indigenous art form, jazz wriggles away from any univocal definition, resisting the confines of a single track like water flowing on broken ground.” — Charles Donelan, The Santa Barbara (California) Independent, 23 Sept. 2010


absolute, apparent, categorical, clear-cut, decisive, explicit, indisputable, obvious, straight-forward, unambiguous, undeniable, unmistakable

Did You Know?

Earliest known print evidence of univocal, in the sense of “having one meaning only,” dates the word to the mid-1500s, somewhat earlier than its more familiar antonym equivocal (meaning “often misleadingly subject to two or more interpretations”). Both words trace back to the Latin noun vox, which means “voice.” The prefix uni– (“one”) was combined with vox to create the Late Latin word univocus, from which English speakers borrowed univocal. Univocal was indeed once used in the sense of “speaking in one voice” (or “unanimous”) as its etymology would imply, but that use is now obsolete.

My Take

Sometimes, for me to understand a word, I need to know the synonyms for the word. Univocal is one of those words. Sure, the definition presented by Merriam-Webster was clear enough. However, it only lightly touched on my understanding the word.

So, I did what I normally do in my writing. I went to the thesaurus and found several dozen synonyms. I share the most pertinent ones with you but, honestly, there are others I might use in differing situations.

In my everyday use of the meanings, I often use the word absolute (the software engineer in me lives and breathes that term), decisive (the businessman), explicit (the writer), obvious (the everyday guy), and the list goes on and on.

When I went looking for an appropriate image to represent the word, I found hundreds of examples. Most of them were uninteresting and ambiguous. I found a couple that I could not use in this article, and the rest, well let’s just say, they don’t fit into my beliefs of the world. So, I chose one that I liked, but if I could have found a better example, I would have.

Please share your comments. I’m sure we would all enjoy reading them.

Brought to you by Merrian-Webster, Word of the Day.

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