From Late Latin ūnivocus + -al.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /juːnɪˈvəʊkəl/, /juːˈnɪvək(ə)l/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /juːnɪˈvoʊkəl/, /juːˈnɪvək(ə)l/


univocal (not comparable)

  1. Having only one possible meaning.
    • 1999, Karen Armstrong, The Case for God, Vintage 2010, p. 146:
      There were, he argued, some words, such as ‘fat’ or ‘exhausted’, that could not apply to God, but if such terms as ‘being’, ‘goodness’ or ‘wisdom’ were not univocal of God and creatures, ‘one could not naturally have any concept of God – which is false.’
  2. Containing instances of only one vowel; univocalic.
    • 2000, Gail Scott, Robert Glück, Camille Roy, Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative
      Eunoia is a univocal lipogram — an anomalous narrative, in which each vowel appears by itself in its own chapter, telling a story in its own voice.
    • 2002, Brick (issues 69-70, page 118)
      I read through the dictionary five times to extract an extensive lexicon of univocal words containing only one of the five vowels.
    • 2012, Lauren Elkin, Scott Esposito, The End of Oulipo?: An attempt to exhaust a movement
      The book's main conceit is to make poetry from univocal words (words containing just one vowel) []
  3. Having unison of sound, as the octave has in music.
  4. Having always the same drift or tenor; uniform; certain; regular.
    • 1657, Jeremy Taylor, Evelyn Memoirs, volume II, page 119:
      But I am much pleased at the repetition of the divine favour to you in the like instances; that God hath given you another testimony of his love to your person, and care of your family ; it is an engagement to you of new degrees of duty, which you cannot but superadde to the former, because the principle is genuine and prolific, and all the emanations of grace are univocal and alike.
    • 1890, Sir Thomas Browne, The Works of Sir Thomas Browne, volume I, George Bell and Sons, London, p. 258
      It is not indeed impossible, that from the sperm of a cock, hen, or other animal, being once in putrescence, either from incubation or otherwise, some generation may ensue; not univocal and of the same species, but some imperfect or monstrous production []
  5. Unequivocal; indubitable.
    • 1673, Jeremy Taylor, Heniaytos: A Course of Sermons for All the Sundays of the Year []
      There is no blessed soul goes to heaven but he makes a general joy in all the mansions where the saints do dwell, and in all the chapels where the angels sing ; and the joys of religion are not univocal, but productive of rare and accidental and preternatural pleasures ; for the music of holy hymns delights the ear and refreshes the spirit, and makes the very bones of the saints to rejoice.





univocal (plural univocals)

  1. A word having only one meaning.
  2. A document containing instances of only one vowel.
    • 2015, Gyles Brandreth, Word Play:
      The univocal is by no means the preserve of the nineteenth century. Georges Perec's 1972 novella Les revenentes complemented his earlier lipogrammatic work by being a univocalic piece in which the letter e is the only vowel used.