Ubiquitous Vs Omnipresent

howard

New Member
India
I know the dictionary meanings of the 2 words are similar.

I want to know the difference between them.

When would I use which and why?

Thanks
HON
 
  • ameridude

    Member
    USA/English
    Depends on the context. Ubiquitous is often used when referring to things. Omnipresent is not often used, except in discussions involving divinity.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    I agree with Ameridude that omnipresent is less common. However, I do not agree that it is limitied to 'divine' topics. Here is a headline from the Los Angeles Times newspaper:

    "Porn omnipresent in teens' lives"
     

    charmingman

    Member
    English
    howard said:
    I know the dictionary meanings of the 2 words are similar.

    I want to know the difference between them.

    When would I use which and why?

    Thanks
    HON
    Both can mean "in all places at all times", but additionally, Ubiquitous can also mean constantly encountered.

    For example, I would say that best-sellers, number 1 singles, the latest fashion craze is ubiquitous. However, I would also tend to use omnipresent for God like entities. But in common usage there seems to be a fair amount of overlap.:)

    CM
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    "Ubiquitous" stresses "found everywhere" (from Latin "where I find") "omnipresent" stresses the fact that it is always in existence (eg always existing in time).

    The nuance is slight but definite to my mind. For example porn is most definitely not ubiquitous in teenagers' lives - every book they read is not a porn magazine. However they encounter it day in day out and so it is omnipresent.

    Soap operas are ubiquitous in Europe - every country has them - but not omnipresent. The prime minister doesn't make decisions with them in mind, when I brush my teeth it is not necessarily about the latest story line I am thinking...

    Based on this, I would not consider it tautological to say that the Christian idea of god is that he is both ubiquitous and omnipresent!

    The difference is very small, though. I hope that helps.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    languageGuy said:
    Ubiquitous - you find it everywhere when you are not looking for it

    omnipresent - you find it everywhere when you are trying to avoid it
    Certainly sounds like my idea of god!
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    timpeac said:
    Certainly sounds like my idea of god!
    Hi Tim,

    My notion of a Higher Power is not identical, but similar:

    Ubiquitous - you find it everywhere when whether or not you are not looking for it

    omnipresent -you find it It finds you everywhere when you are trying to avoid it
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    timpeac said:
    Oooh I feel like I've been hit by a monty-pythonesque bolt of lightning!:eek:
    It's all about the ubiquitous coconut clappers and blessed cheesemakers, who are neither omnipresent nor omniabsent except when you wish to be free of them!:p
     

    rayb

    Senior Member
    Chile - Spanish
    charmingman said:
    Both can mean "in all places at all times", but additionally, Ubiquitous can also mean constantly encountered.

    For example, I would say that best-sellers, number 1 singles, the latest fashion craze is ubiquitous. However, I would also tend to use omnipresent for God like entities. But in common usage there seems to be a fair amount of overlap.:)

    CM
    I agree that there seems to be a fair amount of overlap between these two cocepts. However, IMHO there seems to be the following nuance between them:

    * Something "onnipresent" is "in all places at all times", by nature or by construction. There is no specific action to be done to become present at a particular place and moment. God is certainly omnipresent: and

    * Something "ubiquitous" is "allways in the right place at the right moment" and not necessarily simultaneously in all places at the same time. Cell phones are typically "ubiquitous"and certainly they are not "omnipresent". Some softwares are said to be "ubiquitous", to the extent that they are able to provide a specific action in the right place at the right moment. Of course, according to this nuance, a specific action has to be fulfilled to become "ubiquitous". For example, in order to receive an incoming call or to place an outcoming call, a cell phone has to de turned on, the user has to be recognized by the cellular company and the cellular netwok has to have coverage in that particular location.

    By the way, the same nuance in the usage of these two concepts exist in French and Spanish.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    languageGuy said:
    Ubiquitous - you find it everywhere when you are not looking for it

    omnipresent - you find it everywhere when you are trying to avoid it
    I don't think any dictionary is going to hire you for those definitions, but it's certainly a clever line! ;)

    MW:
    omnipresent: present in all places at all times
    ubiquitous: existing or being everywhere at the same time

    Now, am I totally crazy, or do those two definitions seem clear as mud?

    Yet neither entry gives the other entry as a synonym.

    However, the Cambridge site says:

    ubiquitous: seeming to be in all places

    The only clear difference is that idea of "at all times", which may only be linked to omnipresent, as if the idea of "eternal" is being stressed.

    Ubiquitous seems to stress "everywhere" at a particular time, which could be right now or some definite time in the past.

    These are VERY confusing words! :(

    Gaer
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top