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universe of discourse

SEMANTICS: the set of entities we are talking about when using a sentence. Also called domain of discourse. EXAMPLE: in using (i)a the universe of discourse can be all human beings (and the sentence is most certainly not true), or it may be a restricted set of human beings (and the sentence may very well be true). In (i)b the universe of discourse has been explicitly restricted by the adjunct in this room.

(i) a  everyone is happy
    b  everyone in this room is happy

LIT. Gamut, L.T.F. (1991)