Universe and universe

Catastrophe

The devil is in the detail
In the good old days, the word Universe (capital U for a proper noun) meant 'everything', 'all there is', the totality'. We all knew where we were.
Then, with SF, spaceflights, travel beyond the Solar System, and all that jazz, the pseudo-word 'universe' crept in and, even worse, 'universes'. All of a sudden we have a universe of Universes and all sorts of horrible misnomers. Maybe SF is the main culprit - I don't know. It does, however, seem a bit of an SF idea - alien universes etcetera. By the way, I can see a correct use of universes, as in 'choice of alternate universes' when discussing options open to the Universe. Alternatives are OK, so long as they are not co-existent. The Universe goes this way or that way, but not both.

So what is the way out of this dilemma? The current situation is that there is not a separate word, as there must be, if we are to avoid horrendous confusion. At the moment, the only distinction is upper case U or lower case u, and this is barely understood and misused on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Who is going to correct this? Maybe it will appear in new dictionaries (if not there already) but how many will ever know? All we can do at the moment is to watch our Us and us, unless sheer momentum will produce an acceptable alternative.

Then we have 'multiverse' which has already cast the die in the direction of universe. Multiverses are, as I understand them, alternate versions of whatever the new word is going to be. All in all, it is a mess. Any ideas?

Cat :)
 

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